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Serj Tankian slams Imagine Dragons for playing controversial Azerbaijan gig

System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian has criticized Imagine Dragons for going ahead with their controversial gig in Azerbaijan, stating that he has “zero respect for those guys,” NME reports.

The dispute came over a show that Imagine Dragons had plans for in the country’s capital city, Baku, which some perceived as being an endorsement of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev.

Last summer, the System Of A Down frontman reached out to the band and wrote them a “kind” personal letter, urging them to pull out of the Baku Olympic Stadium show. In the letter, he stated that proceeding with the gig “would help whitewash the dictatorial regime’s image.”

“I really feel that performing in Azerbaijan would have a negative impact on your brand as well,” his letter added, also making a nod towards a news report which stated that the country was preparing genocide against ethnic Armenians in its Nagorno-Karabakh region. “I’m confident that you can decipher all the facts for yourselves to decide whether to cancel your concert.”

Further pressure to back out also came from fellow musicians including Brian Eno, Thurston Moore and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who shared an open letter last August, asking them to pull the show. “Performing in Baku under these circumstances, regardless of intent, can only help the government of Azerbaijan cover up its crimes,” a section of it read.

Tankian also called the band out on social media for having a “disregard for this humanitarian catastrophe,” following the members not acknowledging his plea.

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