Famed guitarist Eric Clapton announced this week he won’t play at venues requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The 76-year-old entertainer said in a statement he “reserves the right to cancel the show,” referring to performances in spaces mandating guests prove they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
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Clapton made the announcement after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson put in place an order mandating large indoor gathering spaces — such as concert halls and event venues — obtain proof visitors have been inoculated, according to Rolling Stone.
In the wake of Johnson’s announcement this week, Clapton said, “I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own.”
“I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present,” he explained. “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”
Accompanying Clapton’s announcement was a link to his anti-lockdown song, “Stand and Deliver,” which he performs with singer Van Morrison.
In the song, Clapton sings, “Do you wanna be a free man? / Or do you wanna be a slave? / Do you wanna wear these chains / until you’re lying in the grave? / … I don’t wanna be a pauper / I don’t wanna be a prince / I just wanna do my job / playing the blues for my friends.”
“Manga Carta, Bill of Rights / The Constitution, what’s it worth? / You know they’re gonna grind us down / until it really hurts / Is this a sovereign nation / or just a police state? / You better look out, people / before it gets too late.”
In May, Clapton opened up about his “disastrous” reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine he took to combat COVID-19.
He rebuked the media’s “propaganda” that he said suggest “the vaccine was safe for everyone” despite suffering side effects he feared would keep him from every playing guitar again.
“I took the first jab of [the AstraZeneca vaccine] and straight away had severe reactions, which lasted 10 days,” he explained in a letter to anti-lockdown activist and architect Robin Monotti Graziadei, who shared the correspondence after receiving Clapton’s permission to do so.
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After receiving the first dose of the inoculation in February, Clapton said he was offered the second dose six weeks later, which he took only because he had “a little more knowledge of the dangers.”
“Needless to say,” the recording artist continued, “the reactions were disastrous: my hands and feet were either frozen, numb, or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks. I feared I would never play again.”
In hindsight, Clapton said he “should’ve never gone near the needle” given his “peripheral neuropathy,” but felt so certain of the safety of vaccination, given the press coverage of the inoculation.
“I continue to tread the path of passive rebellion and try to tow [sic] the line in order to be able to actively love my family, but it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I now know,” he concluded.