Saturday, April 12, 2003
Interview with Robert del Naja.
He claims that despite the fact that no charges had been brought against him, the police informed the Sun newspaper about his arrest. "The whole thing became this kind of publicity joke. Someone in the police force called the Sun directly, said we've arrested so and so, we haven't charged him. The police shouldn't be giving that information to newspapers. They've got this campaign going on, [Sun editor] Rebekah Wade's taken it on as her mission." [...]
However, he continued planning the Antipodean tour. On March 5, the Sun followed its initial story with the news that Massive Attack's projected dates in New Zealand had been postponed.
Del Naja claims that the Sun called the New Zealand and Australian embassies: "They spoke to them, told them about the allegations - which were only allegations, there weren't any actual facts - and they cancelled all our visas," he says. "We thought, 'Fucking hell, this is getting really heavy.' We had to rearrange our tour dates, which cost a lot of money, caused a lot of heartache and disappointed a lot of people out there. There was no reason for them to do that, other than the fact that there wasn't actually a story there. Nobody believed the allegations, basically there was never a case. We got letters back from the consulate apologising, saying we've been misinformed, we never should have cancelled your visas, but the damage is done."
Eventually, the tour went ahead. "It was the hardest time in my life. I had to go on tour with those allegations in the air, which was horrendous. I didn't want to wallow in self-pity or martyr myself on stage. I decided not to get involved with making comments in the press, so I made a statement to the audience each night - 'If everyone's here, I guess you don't believe these ridiculous charges' - which got a big cheer. That's how it went down."