Eric Clapton's Racist 1976 Rant Resurfaces After Announcing Lockdown Protest Song with Van Morrison

The musician addressed the comments — which inspired the "Rock Against Racism" movement in the late '70s — in 2018, after the release of his Life in 12 Bars documentary

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton. Photo: Gus Stewart/Redferns

Eric Clapton is receiving some backlash after announcing a new song to protest the national lockdown in the United Kingdom.

After revealing that he would collaborate with Van Morrison for "Stand and Deliver," Twitter users, including actress Jameela Jamil, spoke about a resurfaced racist rant from Clapton in 1976.

About the new song, Clapton told Variety last week that he found it "deeply upsetting" to see live events canceled due to lockdown restrictions implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration," Clapton told the outlet, referring to Morrison's handful of recent songs protesting the lockdown, including one where he compares it to slavery.

"We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about," he added. "Live music might never recover."

A rep for Clapton had no comment.

As of Tuesday, the United Kingdom had reported more than 1.6 million cases of coronavirus and 58,500 deaths, according to Public Health England.

The critiques of the new track — and references to the past controversy — flooded social media after the song's announcement. Jamil, who was born in London and is of Pakistani and Indian descent, referred to Clapton's infamous racist rant in a set of tweets.

"Clapton continuing to take home the top prize for dumbest c--- on this planet," she wrote. "This is the man who wants you to go outside while he sits all safe in his mansion with the best doctors available to him."

Jamil shared a screengrab of a transcript of the moment an "extremely drunk" Clapton asked "foreigners" at a 1976 show to raise their hands before suggesting they "should all leave."

Eric Clapton racist rant resurfaces

"Not just leave the hall, leave our country... I don't want you here, in the room or in my country," he said in part.

"The Black w--- and c---- and Arabs and f------ Jamaicans don't belong here, we don't want them here," Clapton added on stage then, using blatant racist slurs. "This is England, this is a white country, we don't want any Black w--- and c---- living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome."

The rant went on as he called England "a white country" made "for white people."

Several other users joined in with criticisms of their own.

"Learning that Eric Clapton is a right wing bigot reinforces a lesson that I learned long ago. Just because there is an actor/singer/pro athlete that you REALLY love, it doesn't follow that they are a decent person," wrote on Twitter user. "We ASSUME they are because we idolize them. Never assume."

"i have a joke about Eric Clapton but it's overrated and pretty racist," tweeted another.

"I grew up loving Eric Clapton and somehow managed to shield myself from knowing much about his s---- politics," wrote a third. "47 years was a pretty good run."

In 2018, Clapton addressed the comments — which inspired the "Rock Against Racism" movement in the late '70s — after the release of his Life in 12 Bars documentary.

"I did really offensive things. I was a nasty person," he said then, before describing himself as a "full-tilt" racist. "I think it was based on the Arabic invasion."

"There was this sort of air of this in the early '70s. I'm not excusing myself. It was an awful thing to do," he said, before adding, "I think it's funny actually."

According to the Daily Mail, the guitarist described himself in the '70s as a "semi-racist" and said that he was "so ashamed of who I was" at the time. Clapton also recounted having once dated a Black woman, having Black friends and said that he "championed Black music."

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