Organisers of Australian music festival Bluesfest have apologised to the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors after using a Nazi slur in a response to her.
The first line-up announcement for the 2019 edition of the Byron Bay festival was made last week (July 31), revealing a male-heavy bill topped by Jack Johnson. Only four of the first 26 acts to be announced feature women in their line-ups.
Simone Genziuk messaged Bluesfest on Facebook following the line-up announcement to criticise its lack of female artists, as ABC reports. “Looks like a sausage fest, where’s the chicks?” she wrote.
Organisers sent her a reply comparing her comments to the Nazis’ rise to power. “You attacking events without doing any research on them and starting a media campaign on your own isms and schisms is the sort of thing that worked well in Nazi Germany,” they wrote. “Find someone to attack because you have a screw loose.”
The response continued: “Bet you are an under or unemployed white privileged nobody with too much time on your hands. Going nowhere fast into a life of depression and loneliness due to you have nothing meaningful to justify why you continue to breathe.
????The wait is over, here it is..the 2019 30th Anniversary Bluesfest First Artist Announcement! One of our largest first announcements ever and with many more announcements to follow! Turn it up to 30 and get excited! #bluesfestbyronbay pic.twitter.com/iSGUwDxBpB
— Bluesfest Byron Bay (@BluesfestByron) July 31, 2018
“The chicks are running Bluesfest Simi. Or whomever non de plume you are hiding behind. They outnumber men in the company four to one, and they manage too. Oh….bet you didn’t take the time to find that out. Before you started with your bullshit.”
Genziuk said, as a Jewish woman, she was shocked her “cheeky” comment had elicited a Nazi comparison. “My dad is a Holocaust child – they term children of Holocaust survivors as ‘Holocaust children’ because of the trauma of being brought up by people who had their families murdered and their possessions destroyed by the Nazis,” she said.
After assuming she had been mistaken for someone else because she was not part of a “media campaign”, she asked who was replying to her message. “Sausage,” was the answer she was given.
Festival director Peter Noble told the Herald Sun he was the one who had replied to Genziuk. “I exploded on someone,” he said. “I will contact that person and apologise.”
Genziuk later received an apology from the festival, which read: “On behalf of Bluesfest, we deeply apologise for offending you with our responses on this Facebook message chain. We value all opinions with the utmost respect, and regret that our responses to you didn’t reflect these values.
“We apologise unreservedly for the tone and poor choices in our response to you, and we apologise to your family and any others we have offended. We know there are no excuses at all, and as such we don’t want to defend our poor choices in our response to you, other than to say sorry after the fact.
“You have the right to an opinion and should be able to share that right without an offensive response. Yours sincerely, Bluesfest.”