Americans aren't the only ones sensitive about how their national flag is handled — it turns out the Russians also like to make sure their country's flag is treated well. That's what U.S.-based band Bloodhound Gang discovered on their recent tour.
While visiting the Ukranian town of Odessa last Wednesday, bassist Jared Hasselhoff (real name: Jared Victor Hennegan) put a Russian flag down his pants, telling the cheering crowd "Don't tell (Russian President Vladimir) Putin," and pulled it out the rear. The video went on YouTube and quickly went viral overseas.
Not everyone in the band liked what they saw; the video also shows frontman Jimmy Pop telling the crowd he disagreed with what Hasselhoff had just done: "Russia is better than America," he said, "so I disapprove of that."
Doing that in the Ukraine is one thing. But where Bloodhound Gang made their next mistake was in continuing the tour ... in Russia. Russian officials got involved after viewing the video, and the band's participation at the Kubana Music Festival in the southern Russian area of Krasnodar Krai over the weekend was canceled, according to The New York Times.
According to Rolling Stone, culture minister Vladimir Medinsky tweeted on Friday: "Bloodhound Gang packing suitcases. These idiots won't perform in Kubana."
But it wasn't just Russian officials getting heated about the display. The Times also wrote that locals threw eggs and tomatoes at the band as it headed out of Anapa, a town near the venue where their show was canceled. Later, as the band were being deported, Russian nationalists tracked the band down at an airport lounge and assaulted the musicians, trying to smother one band member with an American flag.
Police intervened, and the band reportedly left the country on Sunday.
Hasselhoff has publicly apologized, adding that the passing of items of all kinds through his pants is a band tradition, but Russia's top law enforcement agency is still considering pressing charges.