Bryan Adams is Not a Racist, But a Victim of “Social Justice”

by | May 13, 2020 | Racism

Whether one agrees with Adam's views on "wet markets," the origin of COVID-19, or the benefits of veganism, the "social justice" attacks on Bryan Adams as a "racist" are misguided. Far from being a racist, Bryan Adams is a victim. Bryan Adam's accusers owe him an apology.

With classic rock hits like Summer of 69 and Cut’s Like a Knife and power ballads like Have you Ever Loved a Woman and Heaven, Canadian musician Bryan Adams is one of Canada’s most popular exports. In an era of rap, hip-hop, and R&B, the sixty-year-old Canadian Rockstar, Bryan Adams, packs stadiums in his home country of Canada and neighboring U.S. and as far away as Finland and India. Everything I Do I Do It For You was the number one song of 1991 on the U.S. Billboard charts that spent sixteen consecutive weeks at number one on the U.K. Singles Chart the longest run of its kind in British chart history — still holding that record today. Not even the Beatles can claim such a feat.


Adams Jumps Into The Fire

Adams recently made headlines over some heated opinions in an Instagram post:

“Tonight was supposed to be the beginning of a tenancy of gigs at the @royalalberthall, but thanks to some [expletive] bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold, not to mention the thousands that have suffered or died from this virus. My message to them other than ‘thanks a [expletive] lot’ is go vegan.” [1]

The reaction to Adams’s comments was intense: animal rights activists applauded his condemnation of “wet markets” while “virtue signaling” social justice warriors mounted charges of racism.

In support of Adams was PETA senior VP Dan Mathew’s he made this statement to Billboard:

“Bryan Adams echoes the frustrations of millions of people who are outraged that the violent meat trade has once again been allowed to devastate human health….Wet markets’ and disease-ridden slaughterhouses around the world are superhighways for contagion and must be closed now. Despite conspiracy theories, credible experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Jane Goodall, the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly warned about the hazards to human health when animals are captured, confined and killed. Humans brought this pandemic upon themselves through their addiction to meat, and the surest way to prevent future outbreaks is to stop supporting slaughter by going vegan.” [“PETA Supports Bryan Adams’ Comments About Global Meat Trade,” Billboard, May 12, 2020 ]

Headlining the opposition was a “prominent” activist for “social justice” promoted by CNBC (that no one has really heard of):

A prominent Chinese-Canadian activist says she is shocked, disappointed and angry about an Instagram post on Canadian singer Bryan Adams’s official account that she and others say is racist. […] Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice called the post racist and believes it could stoke hatred of Chinese-Canadians. “People look up to public figures. He is seen as an idol by many,” Go said. “It justifies this racist hatred against Chinese … This is so irresponsible and just so, so, so, so racist.” [“Bryan Adams’s Instagram post draws rebukes from Chinese-Canadian organization, social media users,” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News, May 11, 2020]

The CBC article does not explain why the “prominent” Amy Go thinks Adams’s comments are racist. It is just assumed Adams’s post is racist, with the only justification being social proof (i.e., “…and others say is racist.”)

A similar illustration is a “news item” in the Los Angeles Times, where racism is assumed as self-evident:

Canadian rock musician Bryan Adams has apologized for his racist social media rant about the cancellation of his London shows. […] 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. [“Bryan Adams apologizes for racist rant linking coronavirus to animal cruelty,” Los Angeles Times, May 2020]


Criticizing “Bat-Eating” and “Wet Markets” is Not Racism

Criticizing “bat-eating” and “wet markets” is not racism by any stretch of the imagination. Adams was not complaining about Chinese people in general but complaining about a practice by some people in China in particular. As one Chinese-Canadian posted on Twitter:

As a Chinese Canadian, I don’t think what Bryan Adams said was racist. He didn’t even name Chinese people specifically and to me it sounds like he only meant the people actually at fault for the virus, not Chinese people as a whole. [May 12, 2020]

To call Adams’s statements racism is a confession that one does not know what racism is.

Racism is a form of collectivism where an individual is judged not by their consciously held ideas and actions, but by their race and ancestry. Nowhere does Adams claim that such activity as “bat-eating” and “wet-markets” is a function of being Chinese. Now some racists stereotype these activities as traits of all Chinese people, but Adams makes no such claims.

Adams was condemning specific individuals, who happen to be Chinese, who engage in “bat eating” “wet markets,” which some scientists and commentators hypothesize as a possible route where COVID-19 was introduced to humans. Adams claims about the source of COVID-19 being “wet markets” may be wrong, but they are not racist.

With regard to “wet markets” Jason Beaubien, of National Public Radio (NPR) sheds light on the issue:

Patients who came down with disease at the end of December all had connections to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan China. The complex of stalls selling live fish, meat and wild animals is known in the region as a “wet market.” Researchers believe the new virus probably mutated from a coronavirus common in animals and jumped over to humans in the Wuhan bazaar.

I visited the Tai Po wet market in Hong Kong, and it’s quite obvious why the term “wet” is used. Live fish in open tubs splash water all over the floor. The countertops of the stalls are red with blood as fish are gutted and filleted right in front of the customers’ eyes. Live turtles and crustaceans climb over each other in boxes. Melting ice adds to the slush on the floor. There’s lots of water, blood, fish scales and chicken guts. Things are wet. […]

But researchers of zoonotic diseases — diseases that jump from animals to humans – pinpoint the wet markets in mainland China as particularly problematic for several reasons. First, these markets often have many different kinds of animals – some wild, some domesticated but not necessarily native to that part of Asia. The stress of captivity in these chaotic markets weakens the animals’ immune systems and creates an environment where viruses from different species can mingle, swap bits of their genetic code and spread from one species to another, according to biologist Kevin Olival, vice president for research at the EcoHealth Alliance. When that happens, occasionally a new strain of an animal virus gets a foothold in humans and an outbreak like this current coronavirus erupts. [Jason Beaubien, “Why They’re Called ‘Wet Markets’ — And What Health Risks They Might Pose,” National Public Radio, January 31 2020]

According to Variety:

The World Health Organization has identified a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in which live animals are kept in closely confined cages and sold for slaughter, as either a source or “amplifying setting” for the coronavirus outbreak. [“Bryan Adams Apologizes for ‘Wet Market’ Coronavirus Tirade, But Doubles Down on Veganism as PETA Comes to His Defense,” Variety, May 12 2020]

From another NPR article:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the top U.S. infectious disease expert, has also expressed support for shutting wet markets. “It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down,” Fauci told “Fox & Friends” earlier this month. [Jackie Northam, “Calls Grow To Ban Wet Markets Amid Concerns Over Disease Spread,” NPR, April 16, 2020]

As to whether COVID-19 was introduced to humans via the Wuhan wet markets, the verdict is still open. Given that the communist Chinese government has followed a no-transparency policy (burying or destroying the evidence, banning independent investigators, etc.), it is difficult, if not impossible, for independent scientists to verify this claim. Other theories include that the virus was accidentally released from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan, or if one believes Chinese State Propaganda that the virus originated outside of China.


“Ammo” for Racists?

In the Canadian Star, Vinnie Menon, while agreeing that Adams comments were not racism, straddles the fence in bowing to Adams’ accusers:

But when the world is on edge, our cultural luminaries ought to step out of their silos and avoid nudging anyone into an us-and-them abyss. Without intending harm, Adams’ words were harmful because they gave ignorant ammo to haters who wouldn’t know an Ebola from a Hendra and are just looking for any reason to point fingers or burn down the nearest Mandarin.

Menon is correct that Adams is no racist, but he is wrong to blame Adams for giving “ammo” to anti-Chinese racists. Advocates of racism do not need “ammo.” They make it up as they go along, twisting the facts to support their views.

That “haters” may misconstrue Adams’s comments to suit their agenda is no different than Adams’s “social-justice” accusers who make similar misinterpretations to advance their anti-justice agenda. In both cases, the blame does not lie with Adams but with those who misinterpret his arguments.

“Social justice” is not the answer to racism. The anti-concept “social-justice” is just double-speak for injustice. This sleight of hand is accomplished by claiming to be opponents of racism and then stretching the meaning of racism to include any criticism of anyone who is Chinese, to silence any opposition. Instead of having to deal with Adams’s arguments, they simply write him off as a racist.


Bryan Adam’s should direct his fire at the Chinese dictatorship

Rather than blaming wet-markets for the COVI-19 pandemic, Adam’s ethical fire would be better directed at the agency responsible for the global spread of COVID-19: the Chinese communist dictatorship.

The Chinese government actions — from their silence on their initial discovery of COVID-19 to their silencing of the doctor who first brought attention that there was a problem in Wuhan, to their covering up the existence of COVID-19 as it spread across the world – indicate a malevolence without bounds. With their accomplices in the so-called World Health Organization (WHO) that seemed more concerned with China’s public image then world health, the Chinese government turned what should have been an isolated problem in the Wuhan province into a global pandemic.

The Chinese government’s internment of Muslims in concentration “reeducation” camps; their routine violation of individual rights of their citizens in mainland China; their enforced “one-child” policy; their massive censorship; their attacks on pro-freedom protestors in Hong Kong; their influence to keep Taiwan (a free republic that should be admired for the protection of individual rights) outside the United Nations are all graves acts of injustice. [2]

For a real example of racism, observe the recent claims and videos by black Africans living in China that are refused entry to Chinese shopping malls and restaurants, because some Chinese see black-skinned people as carriers of the coronavirus! [3]


Whether one agrees or not with Adam’s views on “wet markets,” the origin of COVID-19, or the benefits of veganism, the “social justice” attacks on Bryan Adams as a “racist” are misguided. Far from being a racist, Bryan Adams is a victim. Bryan Adam’s accusers owe him an apology.




[1] From an Instagram post:

CUTS LIKE A KNIFE. A song by me. Tonight was supposed to be the beginning of a tenancy of gigs at the @royalalberthall, but thanks to some fucking bat eating, wet market animal selling, virus making greedy bastards, the whole world is now on hold, not to mention the thousands that have suffered or died from this virus. My message to them other than “thanks a fucking lot” is go vegan. To all the people missing out on our shows, I wish I could be there more than you know. It’s been great hanging out in isolation with my children and family, but I miss my other family, my band, my crew and my fans. Take care of yourselves and hope we can get the show on the road again soon. I’ll be performing a snippet from each album we were supposed to perform for the next few days. X❤️ #songsfromisolation #covid_19 #banwetmarkets #selfisolation #bryanadamscutslikeaknife #govegan🌱

The next day Bryan Adams apologized for his comments:

INTO THE FIRE. Title track from the same album. Apologies to any and all that took offence to my posting yesterday. 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. I have love for all people and my thoughts are with everyone dealing with this pandemic around the world. Here’s the appropriately titled song that would have been performed Tonight at the @royalalberthall .
#bryanadamsintothefire #songsfromisolation #covid19 #banwetmarkets #govegan

[2] Taiwan deserves special mention as it was one of the first countries to alert the WHO that a dangerous virus originated from China (Taiwan’s vice president has a Ph.D. in Epidemiology), and the country is a model of containing the coronavirus.

[3] “McDonald’s apologizes after restaurant in China bans black people” NBC News; How foreigners, especially black people, became unwelcome in parts of China amid COVID crisis” ABC News subhead reads “State propaganda has also claimed the virus originated outside China.”; Africans in Guangzhou are on edge, after many are left homeless amid rising xenophobia as China fights a second wave of coronavirus (CNN); ” Black people in China’ banned from McDonalds and evicted from their homes’ over coronavirus fears” (“They treat us like animals,’ says Max, who was forced from his apartment and put into quarantine – despite testing negative for Covid-19”) (Independent)


Mark Da Cunha is the editor of Capitalism Magazine and creator of Twitter: @capitalismorg

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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