Thursday 18, January
Berghain accused of cancelling artist due to pro-Palestine stance
Since the Hamas attacks of October 7, and even more since the controversial new changes to cultural funding law in Berlin, the city’s artistic institutions have been under the spotlight with regard to the political positions of the artists they platform. While explicitly left-wing institutions like Oyoun have had their funding cut, other usually politically outspoken artistic spaces have been noted for their silence.
Now, the controversy has come to one of Berlin’s most famous cultural landmarks: Berghain. The iconic nightclub has been accused by musician Arabian Panther of cancelling a gig on January 12 because of the artist’s pro-Palestine stance, according to a detailed Instagram post released earlier this week.
The booking was apparently first made all the way back in July and reconfirmed in September. The first sign of any trouble came on 14 December when, according to a timeline published by the artist, the head booker of Berghain called the co-curator of the Ritmo Fatale label night and informed them that they were cancelling the booking of Arabian Panther, who performs wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, due to their outspoken stance and the “global communication on [their] networks” which had become difficult given the current “context”.
Arabian Panther has pledged to donate the fee, which they will still be paid according to the terms of their contract, to Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Update: As reported elsewhere, some deleted Instagram stories posted by Arabian Panther may have also played a factor in Berghain’s decision. In them, the artist denies claims of rape around the events of October 7.
Berghain have still made no comment on the story.