Lionfight Dismiss Bassist Bryan Patrick Cole After Racial Comments on Baltimore Riots
Lionfight are down a member after deciding to dismiss bassist Bryan Patrick Cole after one of the musician's Facebook posts came under fire for being racist. Cole posted a message on Facebook about Freddie Gray and the Baltimore riots in which he referred to rioters as "monkeys." He also stated, "I hope you get your asses kicked by the brave officers that try to do their damn jobs while you collect welfare and buy/sell drugs" and added that the late Freddie Gray and Michael Brown both "probably deserved it." The post is no longer online, but can be viewed here.
As expected, his comments were met with some who felt the rocker had gone too far and called him out on it. "It's a sad world we live in," added Cole in the comments. "Freedom of speech is dead." Eventually, he started to change his tune, stating further down in the comments, "I made a mistake and I am truly sorry for what I said and how I said it. But what's happening in these cities is terrifying and horrible and it should be stopped. If you have anything to say to me, say it. Let's talk it out instead of trying to outshine each other. We are all human."
Lionfight eventually decided to let Cole go due to the backlash. In their statement, they explained, "Today an ex band member of Lionfight decided on his own to say some really shocking and racist remarks on his personal page. Not only did he offend many, including the other band members, he set back the social clock greatly by his ignorant remarks. We say 'ex' because we cannot have that mindset and mouthpiece be a representative of us personally or what we've worked so damn hard for. Bryan will no long be playing music with us."
The group issued a more lengthy account of how things went down with Cole via their Facebook page. It can be read below.
Alright guys...Time to be 100% transparent with all of you. No tiptoeing, no carefully crafted messages, just pure us.
This whole thing blows. We don't want this press and we never asked for it. We really thought this would be done already and we could go back to building this band, but Alternative Press came out of nowhere today and posted about it again. So now a wound that was just about to begin healing has been cut wide open again.
The day that Bryan made the post, we tried to get him to take it down right away. He said that he didn't mean anything racist by it and he should be able to express how he feels. We told him that was fine and we agreed that he should express his own opinions, but there was a better way to express this than how he did. See, Bryan is an emotional dude and he has zero filters. When he's heated about something, he just runs with it (AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM...but we'll get to that in a bit). He didn't think writing "monkeys" was going to be taken in a racist way because he never meant it to be racist. He was trying to say that from all of the news coverage he's seen, these humans look like they've regressed to primates, throwing shit at one another. To him, it wasn't a color thing, it was a rioter thing. To us and a lot of you, it was pretty obvious that it had a racist context, whether he wanted it to or not. This is why we told him to take it down.
Now as far as Bryan not being in lionfight...It's not because we don't believe in "Freedom of Speech" or because we're "Cowards" and won't stand by our guy or his opinions. Hell, we all have different opinions on lots of things all the time. It's also not because he posted something that many took as racist (including us) or because we gave into the pressure of this press. I'm sure we could have moved on from this with Bryan and everything would have been fine. After all, "this too shall pass" or "time heals all wounds".
However, a band is a business and everything said or done is scrutinized. Just like any other business, we are judged by the actions of the people involved with this. Bryan is a horrible decision maker...especially when he gets heated about something. We decided that this specific incident was too large to just overlook, like we did with the other ones. We thought hard about it and we decided that we didn't want someone emotional like that representing our business anymore. Bryan is not in lionfight because this wasn't the first time he spoke ignorantly out of emotion and it wont be the last. That was him by nature and we chose to not accept it any longer. Look this whole thing sucks to write out. We still love Bryan and we wish that things would have gone differently. We are fully aware that he was a fan favorite and he was a vital part of lionfight, from an image standpoint as well as a musical standpoint. Though, with all that in mind, we couldn't roll the dice any longer. His actions became too much of a liability.
Bryan's actions that day came with great impact. They not only affected him, but this band and you guys! Because of this incident, we lost a band member, we lost tour dates that were supposed to start at the end of May and go through August, and most importantly, we lost our reputation. Something that we've worked so hard to build. We didn't need this and we were doing just fine without all of it. We said this before, but it really is crazy how one moment in time can literally change everything.
As stated, Cole's dismissal has affected the band's immediate touring plans and Lionfight have yet to reveal who will take over the bassist's spot within the group.