Heathen Band Faces Charges of Racism in Pennsylvania

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The Heathen band Norsewind was removed from the Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day (PPPD) schedule after being labeled a White Nationalist [Supremacist] band. In August, Antifa Philadelphia, a “collective of militant anti-fascists committed to opposing the rise of the far-right,” contacted the organizers of PPPD. They claimed that Norsewind, a band scheduled to play at the Aug. 30 event, had “strong ties to the Keystone State Skinheads” and labeled them a White Nationalist band. PPPD promptly dropped the band from its event and issued a statement saying that the organizers find “hate and intolerance in any form abhorrent.”

From L to R: Anna Hagalaz, Danjul Norse, Paul Fredericks [photo credit Norsewind facebook page]

From L to R: Anna Hagalaz, Danjul Norse, Paul Fredericks [Courtesy of Norsewind Facebook page]

The Claims
Antifa posted the information that it sent to PPPD on Tumblr. It is titled Norsewind and their ties to Neo-Nazi hate groups. Antifa lists known White Supremacists that are Facebook friends of the band members. It also documents that the band had played for the White Supremacist group Keystone United at a private event on at least two separate occasions. Keystone United describes itself as having the goal of “uniting all racially aware skinheads in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Lead singer Danjul Norse doesn’t dispute that the band played for Keystone United. He also says that, after Antifa posted the article, he looked up and confirmed that he is Facebook friends with the persons listed. However, he strongly disputes that the band has any racist ideology or personal ties with White Supremacists.

In an interview with The Wild Hunt, Danjul explains,”Our band is non-political, we don’t have any politics.” He goes on to say, ”I’m not a White Supremacist; I’m not for that at all. I don’t share those views. I don’t judge people on their politics. I don’t hate anyone. I have no hate in me. I have love for all people. Why can’t people just be people and love each other?”

ppdbannerDanjul adds that people like his band’s music and send him friend requests on Facebook. He then “friends” them back. He doesn’t personally know any of the people listed by Antifa. As for playing at a private Keystone United party, he says:

It was a job and we decided to do it. It’s a business for us and it was a festival dedicated to Leif Erikson and his voyage. There were no signs of White Supremacy or neo-Nazi or hate. It was just a BBQ and they treated me with respect and enjoyed our music. That was it. So when they asked us to play again last year, I thought, OK.

Danjul was surprised by the controversy and the threats of violence that he has received over the past two weeks. He adds that the PPPD board was also harassed with calls and emails by Antifa, even after the board removed Norsewind from the event schedule. He says:

[Antifa activists] said if we played, there would be skinheads in the crowd and they [Antifa activists] would start a riot. Who threatens violence? Why would they threaten a riot? PPPD told me to not even show up because they worried I’d be assaulted.

PPPD has not confirmed this allegation and was unavailable for further comment. Antifa, however, did say that there was no harassment adding:

The reality is that a brief e-mail exchange with some pictures made it perfectly clear that Norsewind and the people they were inviting to Pagan Pride Day were not in synch with their stated mission.

In its claims, Antifa notes that the band displayed a Nazi symbol, the black sun, on its album cover. While Antifa wasn’t able to show any specific racist statements or music by any single member of Norsewind the organization says:

Individually these issues might not seem like much, but when combined they appear to paint a fairly compelling picture of a man with many ties to white supremacy.

In response to these allegations, Danjul says that, although the band prefers to play for Pagans and Heathens, they will “play for anyone.” He adds:

Our message is for everyone. I don’t pick and choose. Not politics and not skin color. I just want people to hear my message of tradition and family. Perhaps it’ll influence them towards something positive. Or just make them laugh or be happy.

There is currently no word out yet on future events for the band or how this controversy will affect its future bookings.

 

[Update:The article was edited from its original form after new facts were brought to our attention. In addition, at the time of original publication, we were unable to reach anyone willing to go on record in counterpoint to the band’s claims. However, we will now be following up this article with an op-ed piece from Ryan Smith of Heathens United Against Racism.]