Music

Hozier Thanks OVO Arena For Clearing Up ‘Misunderstanding’ Over Fans’ ‘Free Palestine’ Scarf

Hozier and the OVO Arena Wembley have apologized and responded to a fan’s complaint about an incident in December in which she was reportedly told to remove a “Free Palestine” scarf before attending one of the singer’s shows. “Thank you to OVO Arena Wembley for clearing up this misunderstanding,” Hozier wrote early Monday morning (Feb. 26) after the venue posted an apology last week to attendee Hiba Ahmad, who said in an earlier X post that she was “pulled aside and escorted to wardrobe” in December while attending a show at the venue while wearing the scarf.

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“The team and I have zero policy of prohibiting signs of any kind and I’m sorry to Hiba and her friends that they experienced this at the London show,” Hozier added.

The venue also apologized to Ahmad on Feb. 22, writing, “This was an isolated incident where venue policy wasn’t followed as intended. The decision to stop the guest was not following artist wishes. We have apologised to those involved and are making a donation to the UNICEF Children in Gaza appeal.”

On Dec. 15, Ahmad posted on X about her experience seeing Hozier at the venue, writing, “So tell me why I got pulled aside and ESCORTED to wardrobe w/ a body cam for wearing a Palestine solidarity scarf at @Hozier’s concert? Not even a kiffiyeh, just a Free Palestine scarf that I *literally* wear everywhere as a show of solidarity AND BECAUSE IT IS F–KING COLD!”

She added, “They then proceeded to tell me they are taking my scarf for my own protection as I might get ‘hate crimed’ for wearing it. One of the security staff doing this told me they are Arab, and told me he didn’t like doing it, while doing it calling for more security on me. LOVELY.” At the time, Ahmad noted that on her way in she saw other people entering with “all sorts of political slogans — especially one memorable tote bag about animal cruelty and testing. But hey, animals > Palestinians right?”

Ahmad claimed that an unnamed person from the venue “insisted” it was Hozier’s team that “demanded” the scarf be removed, reportedly concerned that she would “launch” the scarf at the stage; another tweet from Ahmad appeared to show that her seats were quite far from the stage.

After Ahmad again claimed in a separate tweet on Dec. 15 that Hozier was responsible for the incident, the singer responded the next day, writing, “thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’re looking into this with the venue but I can state categorically that no request came from me about this, and my tour gave no directive about refusing entry of certain items of clothing or indeed flags.”

Ahmad (born Andrew John Hozier-Byrne) thanked the singer after his Dec. 16 post, writing, “Thank you so much Andrew, I really appreciate you reaching out directly, shows the person and artist you are. Solidarity!”

The original incident at the arena came two months after Hamas militants stormed Israel and killed more than 1,200 mostly civilian Israelis and took more than 240 hostages, igniting a now five-month old response from Israel’s military that has reportedly killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Check out the Hozier post below.

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