— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) August 14, 2018
The poster also features an endorsement of Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and a note from the bassist on the back that calls him “the real deal.” Ament is from Montana.
Tester is depicted as an Evel Knievel figure, leaping over the flaming White House on a tractor. But the part of the image getting the most attention is the skeleton on the front lawn. It has a Trump-life coif and holds a briefcase bearing a Soviet hammer and sickle. A bald eagle picks at the skeleton’s foot:
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) August 15, 2018
Matt Rosendale, Tester’s Republican rival in this year’s midterm election, called the image “disgusting and reprehensible” and urged the senator to denounce it.
“We never saw the poster before the show, and we don’t like it,” Tester spokesman Chris Meagher told the Washington Post. “And we don’t condone violence of any kind. Period.”
Ament defended the poster in a statement to Rolling Stone:
“The role of artists is to make people think and feel, and the current administration has us thinking and feeling. I was the sole conceptualist of this poster, and I welcome all interpretations and discourse. Love, from the First Amendment, Jeff Ament.”
Fans of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band were divided by the poster’s imagery:
Tickets to PJ shows — in stadiums that hold 50,000+ people — sell out in minutes. “Fans” who are leaving, no one will miss you. Side note: this week alone, PJ has raised $11.5M (and counting) to fight homelessness in Seattle. Now, how can I get my hands on one of these posters?
— Angsty Pickles (@angstypickles) August 15, 2018
A burning White House with flames pouring out of the widows? I don’t care if you say it’s “art” and I know you probably don’t care – but you should be ashamed of releasing something like this. Not all of your fans agree with your political narratives.
— Brandon King (@BKDaKing2) August 15, 2018
Great job PJ. Keep it coming. I love the Repubs on this thread saying "I'm not going to listen…anymore..bo-hoo" How blind are you? Did you like the "pro-choice" in marker on unplugged? Or how about "WW Suicide", "Jeremy", "Porch", "Can't Deny Me", "Bushleaguer" and "WMA"?
— Arthur Vandelay (@ItsArtVandelay) August 15, 2018
Using your voice to get people to vote is a great thing. Donating all that money from the Seattle shows is outstanding but this is too far imo. Just like the NFL, extreme politics in sports/music hurts the product especially when disrespecting the flag, White House etc
— ✭⚡️CR⚡️✭ (@PJ__Cowboys) August 15, 2018
Love you guys, always have since 1991 when I was 12 years old. I don't get why some of the fans are surprised here. It's not like your political views have changed in the last 27 years.
— Jessie Raeke (@JessieRaeke) August 15, 2018
Disgusting. Shame on you. I was a fan of you guys for 27+ years. This is disgusting and divisive and frankly, beneath you. I miss when it was just about the music.
— Ryan Crouch (@MightyOregon1) August 16, 2018
When was it just about the music for Pearl Jam? pic.twitter.com/dBGphdc3zQ
— LiketheFire (@VitalSigns10) August 16, 2018
Even though I like PJ since the very beginning and know every song, I still don't like these kind of posters. I'm all for freedom of speech, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
— Esp.sin complejos (@jaimeparrondo) August 15, 2018
I BELIEVE PEARL JAM IS DEPICTING THE STATE THAT THEY FEEL OUR GOVERNMENT IS IN WITH TRUMP IN OFFICE. NOT PROMOTING VIOLENCE NOR DISRESPECTING THE FLAG!! COME ON PEOPLE!!
— Angie (@rottenangelart) August 15, 2018
This poster is unacceptable and I've deleted all your music and will never buy another Pearl Jam song or album again.
— Jimmy Toungate (@NWCowboy65) August 15, 2018
But who started the fire? I think this can be interpreted in many ways & makes a strong statement about the political state of the USA today. Instead of being offended it could open up some interesting truthful conversations about what is going g on in the DSA.
— borilena (@borilena1) August 15, 2018
Is this going to far? Yes. That being said anyone that wants to get rid of their tickets to the Boston shows I'll take them off your hands.