In an unlikely move that’s left viewers baffled, the BBC asked Brendan B Brown to join the panel because he “isn’t shy about tweeting his thoughts on Brexit, US politics, and music”, host Jo Coburn said on the programme today (November 23).
Brown, 45, said that his band’s regular tours of the UK have allowed him to speak to young fans about exiting the European Union. “It has occurred to me that the young people who we come across are very concerned with not being able to move freely,” he said. “They’re suddenly staring down the barrel of a closed island.”
When Coburn asked fellow guest Lucy Harris, Director of Leavers of Britain, to try and persuade Brown that there’s “nothing to fear” about Brexit and the impact on young people, barbs were quickly exchanged.
“Musicians such as yourself who have so much money, you know, you’ve got nothing to lose,” Harris said, directing her answer at Brown.
Brown responded, “You think I have a lot of money?” to which Harris said, “I assume you have a lot of money being a successful band.”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) November 23, 2018
Brown continued: “That’s a thoroughly incorrect assumption. I’m spending [money] here at a loss to come back on tour because all I ever wanted to be in was a band – not in the riches.”
When Brown’s interest in British politics was questioned, he said: “We come out here a lot and we have a lot of UK employees. I can’t enter the battle. I’m an EU passport holder but the rest of my crew are not. What winds up happening is we do all this paperwork to make sure we can come into the country properly…It’s a fragile ecosystem to begin with so it scares me a little bit.”
Reaction on social media ranged from humour to outrage.
One viewer said: ‘#politicslive has been reduced to the frontman of Wheatus (American band) telling the UK public what the current situation is with British politics… I actually despair.”
. #politicslive has been reduced to the frontman of Wheatus (American band) telling the UK public what the current situation is with British politics… I actually despair.
— Meghan Gallacher (@GallacherMeghan) November 23, 2018
Hilarious! BBC politics live (@BBCPolitics) have frontman from Wheatus representing the youth – last song on the charts ~20ya & only 1 popular song ever. As usual: majority in UK support UK independence but BBC loads the panel with remoaners. Blatant campaign disrespecting Brits
— Michael Jones (@mickjones61) November 23, 2018
Elsewhere, another Twitter user said, “Nobody gives a shit about Wheatus music anymore let alone their political opinions.”
#politicslive Nobody gives a shit about Wheatus music anymore let alone their political opinions
— Marc O'Reachtaire (@O_Reachtaire) November 23, 2018