BERLIN, Germany (CelebrityAccess) German rap duo Kollegah and Farid Bang are apologizing for lyrics on their album Young, Brutal, Handsome 3 that some have deemed ant-Semitic.
The duo won an ECHO at the ECHO Awards show in Berlin April 12 for best hip-hop/urban album and the honor was immediately condemned by artists, politicians and business leaders. The album contains a lyric that says the duos have muscles that are “more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates” and re-imagining the Holocaust with Molotov cocktails, according to CBS News.
The Echo is the German equivalent of a Grammy, and several artists including singer Marius Mueller-Westernhagen have returned their Echos in protest, according to Bloomberg. The protests began at the awards ceremony itself, with Campino, lead singer of rock band Die Toten Hosen, refusing his own award and railing against the duo, according to CBS News.
Meanwhile, BMG, which published the album, released a statement that it is “utterly opposed to anti-Semitism” and will spend $123,000 on a program fighting anti-Semitism in German Schools. However, the statement adds that, . “Kollegah and Farid Bang have repeatedly made it clear on the internet and speaking in public that they are not anti-Semitic, and they have apologized for any distress caused by the lyrics.”
Kollegah, a Muslim convert, defended the lyrics saying they were “misinterpreted” and offered free tickets to concerts for Jewish fans, according to CBS. He blamed the mainstream media for underestimating the intelligence of his fans.
Farid Bang, born Farid El Abdellaui to parents of North African origin, wrote a letter of apology to a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor and musician Esther Bejarano for any offense, CBS said.