US rock group the Bloodhound Gang was kicked out of a Russian music festival and pelted with eggs after videos emerged of its bass player shoving a Russian flag down his pants at a recent concert in the Ukraine.
Russian prosecutors are even considering opening a criminal case against the band, amid a rise in US-Russian tensions.
Videos posted online of Wednesday’s concert in the Ukrainian city of Odessa show bass player Jared Hasselhoff pushing the Russian national flag down the front of his pants and pulling it out the back.
He then shouted to the audience: “Don’t tell [Russian President] Putin.”
The incident has outraged the Russian government. Maria Minina, a spokeswoman for the week-long Kubana Festival in southern Russia, on Saturday said the band’s headlining performance the previous evening had been canceled because of the flag incident.
The US band is known for its sexually explicit songs, including The Bad Touch with its unforgettable lyrics: “You and me, baby, ain’t nothin’ but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”
Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky on Friday night tweeted that he had spoken with officials in the Krasnodar Krai region, also known as Kuban.
“Bloodhound Gang is packing its bags,” he said in the Twitter post. “These idiots will not perform in Kuban.”
Hasselhoff was questioned on Saturday by police, according to the Russian Ministry of the Interior, which said prosecutors have been asked to decide if the musician could be charged with defaming the Russian flag.
The bass player apologized late on Friday at a news conference held at the music festival in the city of Anapa, the Yuga.ru news portal reported.
He was quoted saying that he had meant no offense and explaining that it was a band tradition for everything thrown from the stage first to be passed through his pants. Hasselhoff said he decided to throw the flag because some fans had seemed disturbed by it hanging on the stage.
The scandal caused by the band comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington over US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was given temporary asylum in Russia last week to help him evade prosecution in the US.
As the Bloodhound Gang members were driving to Anapa Airport on Saturday, activists from a pro-Kremlin youth group threw eggs and tomatoes at their vehicle, Yuga.ru reported.
The band was taken off a flight to Moscow after they had boarded the plane, Russian news agencies reported. After being questioned by transport police, they took a later flight, the reports said.