Tom Petty has a message for the Confederate flag: Don’t come around here no more.
In light of South Carolina removing the Confederate flag from its statehouse, “Refugee” singer Petty has come forward to say that his decision to include the offending banner during his stage shows was “downright stupid.”
In an article published by Rolling Stone, Gainesville, Florida-born Petty admitted that he was “pretty ignorant” about the meaning of the flag as a child. For his tour to support his 1985 album “Southern Accents,” Petty used the Confederate flag as marketing material, a decision he now cringes over.
“It was a downright stupid thing to do,” the singer said.
Petty goes on to explain that he used the flag because of the “Southern Accents” song “Rebels,” which was written from the point of view of someone who “talks about the traditions that have been handed down from family to family for so long that he almost feels guilty about the war.”
Unfortunately, Petty’s use of the flag onstage caught on with his audience, and on a tour two years later, “I noticed people in the audience wearing Confederate flag bandannas and things like that. One night, someone threw one onstage. I stopped everything and gave a speech about it. I said, ‘Look, this was to illustrate a character. This is not who we are. Having gone through this, I would prefer it if no one would ever bring a Confederate flag to our shows again because this isn’t who we are.'”
The situation “left me feeling stupid,” Petty said.
“Again, people just need to think about how it looks to a black person. It’s just awful,” he admitted. “It’s like how a swastika looks to a Jewish person. It just shouldn’t be on flagpoles.”
Petty goes on to reflect on the current state of race relations in America.
“The way we’re losing black men and citizens in general is horrific. What’s going on in society is unforgivable,” Petty said. “As a country, we should be more concerned with why the police are getting away with targeting black men and killing them for no reason. That’s a bigger issue than the flag.”
Petty’s remorse stands in marked contrast to Kid Rock, who last week offered his own message to those who criticize his own use of the Confederate flag.
“Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my ass,” the rock star said in a statement to Fox News.