Bryan Adams apologizes for racist rant linking coronavirus to animal cruelty

Tracy Brown
Bryan Adams at a performance in 2019.  (K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Canadian rock musician Bryan Adams has apologized for his racist social media rant about the cancellation of his London shows.

"Apologies to any and all that took offence [sic] to my posting yesterday," Adams, a longtime animal-rights activist and vegan, wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. "No excuse, I just wanted to have a rant about the horrible animal cruelty in these wet-markets being the possible source of the virus, and promote veganism."

On Monday, Adams posted a video on Instagram accompanied by an expletive-laden caption blaming "bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards" for the coronavirus outbreak that has put "the whole world ... on hold," including his concerts. Adams' string of pop hits includes "Summer of ’69," "Heaven" and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"

Critics were quick to point out the racist nature of his comments — understood to be directed at Chinese people — and that they come at a time when anti-Asian and anti-Asian American sentiment and hate crimes have surged in response to the global COVID-19 crisis.

Adams' comments on "bat-eating" and "virus-making" were specifically called out for being stereotypical and inaccurate.

Scientific evidence strongly suggests the novel coronavirus came from bats and naturally evolved before making the jump to humans. Consuming bats is not a common practice in most of China, and the country has banned wildlife trade and consumption permanently since February (though there are some loopholes). It also has been noted that wet markets are not quite the same as wildlife markets.

Adams' controversial comments come in the wake of similar sentiments expressed by fellow musician and animal-rights activist Paul McCartney. Speaking with Howard Stern last month, the former Beatle called wet markets "medieval" and compared them to slavery.