Journalist and protester Louis Fowler holds a sign at Pink Pony's controversial Norman Music Festival performance.

Does He Realize? Protesters Not Satisfied With Wayne Coyne's Apology

Wilhelm Murg
5/12/14

Wayne Coyne, the leader of the pop group The Flaming Lips, gave a rambling interview on Friday to Rolling Stone where he addressed various controversies he is currently involved with, including those surrounding the actions of Christina Fallin, the daughter Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin.  Christina Fallin put a picture on social media of herself wearing a faux-Native American Headdress in March and in the storm of the controversy, Coyne put pictures of two women, and a dog up in social media also wearing a headdress.  Fallin appeared with her band, Pink Pony, at The Norman Music Festival in April where they taunted Native American protesters, allegedly along with Coyne, and Fallin is accused of wearing a faux-Indian shawl with the word “sheep” across the back while doing a faux-Indian Dance. 

Coyne distanced himself from Fallin and Pink Pony in the interview by denouncing the band’s music as “stupid” and while Fallin has insisted from the beginning that she never intended to offend Native Americans, Coyne contradicts her and corroborates what the Native American protestors have said all along, that Fallin and Pink Pony were taunting the protesters.

RELATED: Christina Fallin, in Her Own Words: "I'm Tired of the Misinformation"

“I thought [Pink Pony] making fun of the protestors seemed stupid,” Coyne was quoted as saying.  “And I just thought, ‘Why don't you just go out there and play your music, tell them you're sorry and play some cool music, and that would be what the festival is about?’ And Pink Pony handled it badly.”

Along with denouncing the band artistically, Coyne also puts all the blame on Fallin and Pink Pony for things turning ugly.  “I left because I just didn't think it was very good,” Coyne said in the article. “But then to hear that they were making fun of people, and people probably got too drunk, I thought it was bad.”

Coyne also seems to be saying that he just happened to be laughing while Native American people were being taunted in public, but he was not laughing at them, he was just generally having a good time during the taunting.  “Yes,” Coyne was quoted, “I was at the festival. People probably saw me laugh. I took pictures with probably 500 people that night. I'm laughing in probably all the pictures.”

“I, myself, had eye contact with Wayne; he and his little girlfriend were laughing and pointing at us,” said protester and former Flaming Lips fan, Louis Fowler.  Fowler, who is Choctaw, was there as a journalist covering the protest, but decided the situation was too overwhelming to remain impartial and picked up a sign and joined the protesters.  “You come face to face with someone you respected and who you wasted so much money on between concerts and albums.  For him to do that - it was really heartbreaking.” 

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
As Daniel Snyder, Donald Sterling and Clive Bundy have proven - racists only care when it hurts their pocketbook. Lately it seems the only people using the sentence, "I am not a racist," are the racists themselves.

Mojo Hand's picture
Mojo Hand
Submitted by Mojo Hand on
First of all, Coyne is a jerk...this is the guy who interviewed Brian Wilson in 1999 for some HBO thing that never aired, and then he trashes Wilson afterwards about Wilson's own personal demons and mental issues. Wow, talk about a lack of compassion! Even if you didn't get much out of the guy, and Wilson may have been kind of incoherent too, why not just offer some respect to the guy and not say anything about it afterwards?.....and second, this is is what white privilege is all about, being content in ignorance and dismissive of a minority group's complaints and not having to confront institutional racism and seeing the effects it has had on marginalized minority groups. Must be nice to throw your elbows around and not care who you hit......This could have been a huge personal growth moment for all of them, to enter into a real and honest dialog with Native Americans but they initially chose to shrug it off.... and enough of the "if i offended anyone" nonsense, just say, "I'm sorry for having offended some people".

hesutu's picture
hesutu
Submitted by hesutu on
After all this, are they still wearing headdresses? Is the photo on the second page of the article a recent one? I am not sure if this is even a headdress or something else, it seems to have legs on it, perhaps of a coyote? Is it a coyote skin with a head band? I haven't seen this sort of headdress before. I don't want to say anything inappropriate in case this is a traditional head dress of some nation which I just haven't seen before, but it seems rather odd looking and strange to have a whole coyote skin on the head with the legs dangling down like that.

Terry James's picture
Terry James
Submitted by Terry James on
Coyne's picture of 3 people and a dog included his girlfriend, a roadie, a dog, and a pop singer named Sarah Barthel of the group Phantogram. She apparently was unaware of the Fallin controversy in Oklahoma at the time the photo was taken. On May 12th she posted this on Facebook: A few weeks ago, a photograph of me wearing a Native American headdress was posted on the internet. While in no way was this picture meant to harm or disrespect the Native American community or culture, I realize now the gravity of its unintended consequences. I've learned a lot about issues around cultural appropriation in the past few weeks, and hope my mistake can shed light on the subject so others can also learn from it. I sincerely apologize to anyone I've offended – obviously, it won’t happen again. Sending love to all of you, -Sarah Seems that Wayne Coyne could have simply done something similar instead of his strange interview in Rolling Stone.
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