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Depeche Mode Rebuff White Supremacist Richard Spencer’s Lifelong Fanhood

Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images
Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

The transaction between artist and consumer is so common as to be almost invisible, but it’s still pretty complicated, and it can lead to some fairly awkward moments when stars are forced to publicly confront the fact that some of their fans have opposing — or sometimes simply outright repugnant — views. For example, we turn to recent headlines surrounding Depeche Mode.

The band, lately in the news for their upcoming Spirit album and Global Spirit Tour, found themselves in an altogether less comfortable sort of spotlight on Feb. 23, when outspoken white supremacist Richard Spencer described himself as a “lifelong Depeche Mode fan.”

Spencer’s had something of a tough go of it lately — several weeks ago, footage of him being punched in the face generated a slew of memes, and more recently, he was uninvited from the 2017 Conservative Political Action conference because, in the words of spokesman Ian Walters, “his views are repugnant.”

Sensing that the band behind “People Are People” might not welcome being publicly associated with Spencer’s enjoyment, Esquire reached out to a Depeche Mode representative for comment, and the response was … unequivocal. “That’s pretty ridiculous,” the rep’s quoted as saying. “Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the alt-right, and does not support the alt-right movement.”

Of course, people can love an artist’s work without believing the same things, and under the best circumstances, music can bridge all sorts of ideological and emotional divides. That all tends to go out the window, however, when racist views are being publicly espoused — although Depeche Mode and Richard Spencer do still go well together under certain circumstances, as demonstrated by a clip of the aforementioned assault set to the group’s “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

Watch the YouTube Mashup ‘Just Can’t Punch Enough’

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