Posted on: August 25, 2023, 04:12h.
Last updated on: August 25, 2023, 04:12h.
Carlos Santana is drawing fire for anti-transgender comments he made during a concert at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. The rock guitar legend made the comments last month, but the video showing the comments is only now making the rounds.
“When God made you and me, before we came out of the womb, you know who you are and what you are,” the 75-year-old rocker told the Etess Arena crowd.
As Santana spoke, his bassist and drummer performed a soft instrumental shuffle, as though backing up a preacher's sermon.
“Later on, when you grow up, and you see things and you start believing that you could be something that sounds good but you know it ain't right, because a woman is a woman and a man is a man — and that's it,” Santana continued.
When the camera flashed to audience members, about a third clapped and yelled their approval at the message while most sat silent.
“Whatever you want to do in the closet, that's your business, I'm OK with that,” Santana continued, clasping his palms together and adding: “I am like this with my brother Dave Chappelle.”
Chapelle had been one of the world's most successful and beloved comedians in the world. Then he came under fire for making transphobic jokes in his 2021 Netflix special, “The Closer.” While his standup career was not canceled, it lost considerable momentum in the maelstrom that followed.
See the entire clip for yourself below.
Santa apologized only after media outlets began circulating the clip widely on Friday. He did so by posting the following, carefully worded, statement on his Facebook fan page:
“I am sorry for my insensitive comments. They don't reflect that I want to honor and respect all person's ideals and beliefs. I realize that what I said hurt people and that was not my intent. I sincerely apologize to the transgender community and everyone I offended.
“Here is my personal goal that I strive to achieve every day. I want to honor and respect all person's ideals and beliefs whether they are LGBTQ or not. This is the planet of free will and we have all been given this gift. I will now pursue this goal to be happy and have fun, and for everyone to believe what they want and follow in your hearts without fear. It takes courage to grow and glow in the light that you are and to be true, genuine, and authentic. We grow and learn to shine our light with Love and compliments. Have a glorious existence. Peace.”
Not So Smooth
Reaction on social media was predictably polarized, with half expressing solidarity and half outrage.
“He spoke the truth,” commented Twitter user @roller2k3. “The Trans community wants to force us to except (sic) something that's not possible!”
“F*** Carlos Santana,” wrote Twitter user @heelmanitoba. “While we're at it, f*** each & every one of these transphobic morons. Got no time or energy to waste on hateful, bigoted bullshit, or those who embrace it.”
In recent weeks, several other rock musicians have expressed similar sentiments. In an interview with the music blog Stereogum, Alice Cooper said: “I'm understanding that there are cases of transgender, but I'm afraid that it's also a fad. I find it wrong when you've got a six-year-old kid who has no idea. He just wants to play, and you're confusing him, telling him, ‘Yeah, you're a boy, but you could be a girl if you want to be.'”
Paul Stanley of KISS and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister have also been criticized for describing gender-affirming care for kids as a “sad and dangerous fad.” Snider's comment got him dropped from the lineup for San Franscisco Pride.
What makes this situation seem so shocking is that Santana, who performed at the original Woodstock, regularly praises peace and equality icons Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and Bob Marley in concert.