Donald J. Trump’s ill-fated rally in Washington, D.C. has claimed a music industry casualty: the relationship between Trump-boosting indie rocker Ariel Pink and his label, Mexican Summer, which announced Thursday it was dropping him from the roster.
“Due to recent events, Mexican Summer and its staff have decided to end our working relationship with Ariel Rosenberg AKA Ariel Pink moving forward,” the label said in a terse, one-sentence announcement on Twitter.
Due to recent events, Mexican Summer and its staff have decided to end our working relationship with Ariel Rosenberg AKA Ariel Pink moving forward.
— Mexican Summer (@MexicanSummer) January 8, 2021
Pink had been the subject of a furor in the indie-rock world after confirming that he had been in D.C. for the rally, although he denied had taken part in the riot that descended upon the Capitol after Trump provoked the crowd.
Subsequently, incendiary comments Pink had made in a podcast in December came to light that may have further endangered his relationships in the music community. Pink said of anyone who can “still be a Democrat at this point… to me it’s like all of a sudden all their intelligence just got shown to be a complete farce. All the smarts in the world that they had, all their artistic fucking genius… was just window dressing.”
In the podcast, Pink also contended that COVID vaccinations do not prevent the disease and cast doubt on climate science “because literally everything the Democrats stand for, every single platform, is bullshit. So Trump for me is an indictment on anything bullshit… I’m so gay for Trump, I would let him fuck me in the butt.”
Pink was somewhat more circumspect this week, but still openly supportive of the president, when fans on social media — most unaware of his political beliefs — asked why he was at the rally.
“I was in D.C. to peacefully show my support for the president,” he replied via tweet. “I attended the rally on the White House lawn and went back to hotel and took a nap. Case closed.”
Asked by another follower whether he was concerned about attending an event where few were masked during the pandemic, Rice invoked Black Lives Matters protests, suggesting hypocrisy. “All the people at these events deserve what’s coming to them,” he wrote. “They took the risk knowing full well what might happen. BLM protests over the past 6 months are not informed about the pandemic?”
The brouhaha began after Pink and fellow Trump-supporting John Maus were pictured on Instagram in a D.C. hotel with the caption, “The day we almost died but instead had a great time.” The photo, now deleted, appeared on the account of a so-called “red-pilled” filmmaker, Alex Lee Moyer, who recently had Pink and Maus score a film about disaffected young men in the 4chan community, “TFW No GF.”
In the recent Wrong Opinion podcast, egged on by a host whose views seemed to be even more extreme than his own, Pink referred to Maus as being politically like-minded and said, “John is, by the way, 1001% on Team Trump now.”
Pink’s arguments in favor of Trump and willingness to express support even after the rally led to widespread scorn among other musicians in the last two days.
“Now I have nothing boring to listen to,” wrote Phoebe Bridgers, quote-tweeting a Pitchfork tweet about the developing controversy over Pink and Maus.
Fuck Ariel Pink. Seriously his best ideas were always ripping off someone else… creepy little fascist Shitbag from Beverly Hills. raised in a god damn cage… mother fuck him
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) January 7, 2021
Going much further back, Pink had previously alienated fellow musicians with irreverent remarks that some condemned as homophobic. “I’m very old fashioned, very traditional in my values. I don’t understand what all this gay marriage stuff is about, it really pisses me off,” he said in a 2012 interview with Pitchfork. “I don’t really even support marriage, per se… I’m all for being a deviant, all for being a deviant, and being proud. Don’t pretend like you’re Betty Crocker. I love gays, by the way… I love pedophiles too, and I love necrophiliacs, and all these other people. When do they get their marriage and orientation, when do they get to talk about their sexual repression and how society doesn’t accept them?”
In a New Yorker profile two years later, responding to growing criticism of his remarks in a New Yorker profile, Pink said, “Everybody’s a victim, except for small, white, nice guys who just want to make their moms proud and touch some boobies.”
It was shortly after that, more than six years ago, that Pitchfork ran an unsigned, staff-attributed op-ed accusing him of trolldom, with the headline: “Ariel Pink’s ‘Joke’ Isn’t Funny Anymore.” “Like an alt-rock extension of a self-satisfied 4chan user, Ariel Pink continues his episodic PR campaign to offend. … Pink is cashing in, embracing the role of the troll; he’s playing us, and being rewarded for it. The thing is, Ariel Pink hasn’t won at all. While he brings himself a lot of headline-grabbing attention, he’s actually bringing a spotlight to the very real and pervasive racism and misogyny that is deeply embedded in indie rock to the surface. All that needs to happen now is that we all recognize this.”
Notably, Pitchfork had once named Pink’s “Round and Round” the best song of 2010, and Entertainment Weekly described the “coronation” of a “hipster king,” in the days when widespread acclaim for his music outstripped the shaking heads that would eventually more commonly greet his name. Pink has not released a new album since 2017.
On Wednesday, watching the stir grow over his support for right-wing views, Pink tweeted, “Welcome to the panoptigan (sic). They wasted no time… save yourselves friends, cancel me now and turn me in before they come for you.”
Variety was not able to immediately reach reps for Mexican Summer or Pink for comment on the label’s decision to cut him loose.