The National‘s Aaron Dessner has responded to being mistakingly identified as someone seen encouraging rioting during protests taking place in the US.
On Monday (May 25), George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, was killed in Minneapolis following an altercation with police officers. Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest.
The incident has since led to thousands of people protesting all across America.
While many musicians and actors, including Janelle Monáe, John Boyega, and Ice Cube, have led calls for justice following the death, Dessner was accused by some social media users of being someone seen encouraging rioting in Columbus, Ohio.
“Meet @aaron_dessner he’s an Antifa organizer paying people to riot!!” one Twitter user wrote, posting a picture of the alleged culprit and tagging Dessner. “He needs to be arrested NOW!!”
Another user commented on a video depicting the apparent Antifa organiser – and Dessner lookalike – “appearing to pay some kids to riot.”
“That’s Aaron Dessner the guitarist for The National!” they wrote. “What’s he doing at the Race Riots?”
That's Aaron Dessner the guitarist for The National!
What's he doing at the Race Riots? pic.twitter.com/W9VcylZwzb
— FortWorthPlayboy (@FWPlayboy) May 31, 2020
Responding to the accusations, the multi-instrumentalist wrote: “I’m very fortunate and grateful to wake up every morning in the rural countryside I live in, looking at farmland and these beautiful mountains. I’ve been here for three months now isolating with my wife and young children.
“This morning I’ve woken up to the unpleasant and surprising news that I’ve been misidentified by some social media users as someone seen encouraging rioting in Columbus, Ohio – I am not the person some are suggesting I am and I would never support violence of any kind. Nor have I been in Ohio since June 2019.”
— Aaron Dessner (@aaron_dessner) May 31, 2020
Speaking on the protests and his stance on racism, Dessner continued: “However, I do fully support peaceful protests and activism against endemic racism and racially motivated violence in this country, which somehow continues generation after generation after generation.
He concluded: “Like so many, I’m hoping for peaceful resolution and actual process addressing these persistent issues in our society.”
The band were due to play two shows at London’s Brixton Academy this June, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic these have now been rescheduled to 2021. All previously purchased tickets will remain valid for 2021.