Hayley Williams Apologises For 'Public Shaming' Of Removing Two Fans From Paramore Show

5 June 2023 | 11:45 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

“Does anyone really learn from the kind of public shaming I gave the 2 I had kicked out from the show that night?"

Paramore @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Paramore @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Credit: Richard Stills)

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Last Tuesday (30 May), Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams booted two fans from their Madison Square Garden show after groups of people pointed out the couple as being disruptive.

The band paused playing their song, Figure 8, from their new album, This Is Why, after a perceived scuffle in the audience caught the attention of Williams.

“What is happening?” she asked as punters gestured to the two fans disrupting others. “Yes, I will embarrass both of you. Both of you need to find somewhere else to take care of that shit because that’s not happening here tonight, this is our house,” she added, kicking them out of the venue.

“How are you gonna disrupt one of our favourite songs to play at our show?” After the incident subsided and the crowd let the band know, everything was sorted, Paramore restarted the song.

Since the incident took place, Williams has reflected on what happened and apologised to the couple she kicked out, writing on the Paramore Discord server, “I am sorry for whatever shame or embarrassment I may have caused you”.

Writing a lengthy statement, Williams went on to add that she was “really not proud” of the way she handled the couple’s behaviour.

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In the open letter, Williams also reflected on her controversial comment levelled at supporters of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis [“I’m very fucking comfortable talking politics, and if you vote for [Governor of Florida running for President in the 2024 US election] Ron DeSantis, you’re fucking dead to me”] and wrote, “I hate that the only thing I really know to say to people I deem racist or bigoted in any way is ‘you’re dead to me’ when I know that message isn’t the kind that’s going to change a hateful heart," per NME.

Addressing the moment when she kicked out the two fans, Williams admitted that she saw red and was worried for people in the audience. You can view what happened below.

“Without the opportunity for a proper back and forth (and with a looming, strict show curfew in the back of my mind), I bared my teeth like a mother wolf,” she explained. “I embarrassed the hell out of these two people, without truly knowing what the situation was. Then, as a group – all 25,000 of us or so – exiled these people from the show in record time.”

Williams continued to admit that looking back at the footage from the night, the incident “didn’t look like the fight I thought I was stopping”. She added, “I have not been able to shake the feeling that I abused my responsibility and my platform in that moment [and] that I hurt those two in a way that will outlast the momentary discomfort of their poor concert etiquette.”  

“I do think it’s a worthy cause to set firm boundaries for how we want the environment at our shows to feel [and] maybe those two weren’t gonna get it any other way. But we should all try to imagine getting ridiculed and kicked out of a show in front of 10’s of thousands of people.

“When I saw their faces in the video, I didn’t see the smug smiles that some commenters criticised them for. I saw embarrassment and I cried for them. I’m telling you, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.”

She later called out the public shaming of it all and pondered, “Does anyone really learn from the kind of public shaming I gave the 2 I had kicked out from the show that night? I don’t know but I don’t think so. And that really gives me a lot to think about in terms of our culture at large.”

You can read the full open letter below.