I have long been a fan of the Foo Fighters, among other rock bands. They created one of my all time favourite songs with the beautiful "Walking After You", and have a wonderful sense of humour in many of their videos.
However, this week I learned something really tragic, that makes me view this group in a whole new light; a light that is less than flattering. On their website, the Foo Fighters promote the HIV denial website 'Alive and Well' (http://www.aliveandwell.org/)
This website presents "information that raises questions about the accuracy of HIV tests, the safety and effectiveness of AIDS drug treatments, and the validity of most common assumptions about HIV and AIDS." They give information such as "In a contagious epidemic, healthcare professionals working among the ill usually run the highest risk of contracting a disease. During the entire AIDS epidemic however, only 25 cases of AIDS have been reported among healthcare workers who claim occupational exposure as their only risk, and none of these 25 cases have been described in the medical literature. " (ignoring the reduction of risk of infection when these healthcare professionals can engage certain safe practices, such as safe sex, and protective wear when handling blood, etc).
These people encourage HIV sufferers to ignore medical advice, and abandon conventional medical treatments. The owner of the site is HIV positive, and since diagnosis has become pregnant twice. When asked for advice by a person whose partner's ex has been diagnosed, she advises "I think it’s important to clarify that AIDS is not passed from one person to another. Rather than being a disease, AIDS is a category of 26 conditions only some of which are contagious." .
Now, I completely understand that the Foo Fighters are nothing more than human, but I admit to falling into that easy trap of building a mental image of those we respect. When I listen to their music and lyrics, and watch the way they put a show together on stage, I imagine them to be intelligent, rational people. I built an image in my mind of a group of people who respect their fans, and who are literate enough to read and understand informative information about such issues as AIDS.
The discovery that they could be so ignorant of facts and irresponsible to their fanbase has been a cold wake up for me. They actually distribute "Alive and Well" leaflets at their gigs.
Finding this out a few nights ago was combined with another shock - that Matt Bellamy, the singer for Muse, believes that both 9/11 and 7/7 were not the work of terrorists, but rather actioned by the governments to create a false flag to support their desire for war. I can understand that people sometimes feel things don't quite add up, and feel suspicious about events as they unfurl. However, to ignore the vast amount of detailed information that exists, not least on the web, and promote that conclusion, is a disgrace. (Matt Bellamy was interviewed by leading 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on this issue).
People in such public positions, with fanbases who may choose to take their words at face value, should really take that as a serious responsibility, and endeavour to check the facts of the case before promoting anything. I fail to see how either of these cases have been appropriately researched, because certainly the evidence to the contrary of what they suggest is massively overwhelming.