Plan B responds to ‘neo-Nazi’ t-shirt criticism

Rapper apologises, says he was unaware of the existence of Skrewdriver

Plan B has responded to criticism for a photograph which shows him wearing what appears to be a Skrewdriver t-shirt.

The most recent issue of Shortlist shows the rapper sporting a top with the band’s name written on it. This prompted some commentators to question his motive.

The New Statesman asked why the rapper had worn the T-shirt and quoted journalist Brian Whelan, who wrote on his blog: ” It is very unusual that Plan B would knowingly wear this t-shirt and that Shortlist would stick it on the front of their publication. Make no mistake about it Skrewdriver were a nasty bunch, [founding member] Ian Stuart became a martyr for the far-right when he died in a car crash almost 20 years ago.”

The rapper has now released a statement, which has been posted on The Quietus, explaining that the garment was not an official Skrewdriver t-shirt. He also apologised for not knowing who the band were, or what they represented.

He said: “I was ignorant to the existence of the band Skrewdriver. I don’t listen to music like that so I wouldn’t know the names of bands that make that music. I was wearing a T-shirt I created using a photograph from the photographer Gavin Watson’s book Skins.

“I asked him if I could print shots from his book on to T-shirts. I made a number of these T-shirts. Gavin’s photos are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs so were the skinheads in the 80’s.”

Speaking about the person on the T-shirt, who some thought to be former Skrewdriver associate Nicky Crane, Plan B explained: “Most of the T-shirts I had made were of his brother. The boy on the image is Neville Watson. Neville is Gavin Watson’s brother. The graffiti behind him is graffiti. Neither Gavin or Neville put it there; it was already there when Gavin took the photo. Gavin did not know I had printed that image on a T-shirt and I was not aware of the significance of it.”

He concluded: “The minute I found out what the words on the T-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The T-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is.”

Skrewdriver were a notorious neo-Nazi “white power” group with links to the National Front. Founding member Ian Stuart Donaldson died in a car crash in 1993 and his death is celebrated every year by the far-right movement.

Shortlist’s interview with Plan B can still be viewed on their website, where he talks about his favourite actors and movies as well as his own film, and accompanying album, Ill Manors.