Pink Floyd lyricist slams Roger Waters as antisemitic ‘Putin apologist.’ He disagrees

Two men and a woman sit at a table at an event. The man in the middle has his arm around the woman's shoulder.
Roger Waters, from left, David Gilmour and Polly Samson attend a 2010 benefit in London.
(Dave M. Benett / Getty Images)

It’s another brick in a decades-old wall: Musician David Gilmour and author-lyricist wife Polly Samson are calling out Gilmour’s former Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters as antisemitic — and more.

The slam comes after Waters on Sunday promoted an interview with a German outlet where he spoke freely, criticizing Israel, defending Russian President Vladimir Putin and slamming Western assistance to Ukraine.

Samson, who married Gilmour in 1994 and was the lyricist on some later Pink Floyd songs, put it this way Monday on social media: “Sadly @rogerwaters you are antisemitic to your rotten core. Also a Putin apologist and a lying, thieving, hypocritical, tax-avoiding, lip-synching,misogynistic, sick-with-envy, megalomaniac. Enough of your nonsense.”


Waters — who tweeted Sunday, “THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE Against the backdrop of the outrageous and despicable smear campaign by the ISRAELI LOBBY to denounce me as an ANTI-SEMITE, WHICH I AM NOT, NEVER HAVE BEEN and NEVER WILL BE” — took issue with Samson’s characterization.

A Krakow councilman says the Polish city canceled gigs by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters because of his sympathetic stance toward Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Sept. 26, 2022

“Roger Waters is aware of the incendiary and wildly inaccurate comments made about him on Twitter by Polly Samson which he refutes entirely. He is currently taking advice as to his position,” his account tweeted Monday afternoon.

Waters’ Sunday tweet linked to a translated version of an interview published over the weekend by Germany’s Berliner Zeitung, in which the musician went on at length about geopolitics.

Here are a few quotes from the interview:

“I am now more open to listen [to] what Putin actually says. According to independent voices I listen to he governs carefully, making decisions on the grounds of a consensus in the Russian Federation government. There are also critical intellectuals in Russia, who have been arguing against American imperialism since the 1950s. And a central phrase has always been: Ukraine is a red line. It must remain a neutral buffer state. If it doesn’t remain so, we don’t know where it will lead. We still don’t know, but it could end in a Third World War.”

“I think if the U.S. can convince its own citizens and you and many other people, that Russia is the real enemy, and that Putin is the new Hitler they will have an easier time stealing from the poor to give to the rich and also starting and promoting more wars, like this proxy war in Ukraine.”

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“What everyone in the West is being told is the ‘unprovoked invasion’ narrative. Huh? Anyone with half a brain can see that the conflict in Ukraine was provoked beyond all measure. It is probably the most provoked invasion ever.”

“The Israelis are committing genocide. Just like Great Britain did during our colonial period, by the way. The British committed genocide against the indigenous people of North America, for example.... We believed ourselves to be inherently superior to the indigenous people, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Well, we weren’t and neither are the Israeli Jews.”


Waters has also come down on the side of China regarding Taiwan and the oppression of the Uyghurs.

Less than an hour after Waters’ response Monday, Gilmour backed up his wife, tweeting, “Every word demonstrably true.”

Roger Waters talks about his new Us + Them tour and his new album, “Is This the Life We Really Want?”

The feud between Waters and Gilmour has been ongoing since the former left Pink Floyd in the mid-1980s and then sued to try to retire the band’s name. That court argument was settled after a few years, but the men have continued to clash, albeit with brief moments of reconciliation along the way.

In September 2022, as Waters was planning his This Is Not a Drill tour, the city of Warsaw, Poland, canceled two shows that had been scheduled for April in a city-owned venue after the “Dark Side of the Moon” musician wrote an open letter to Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska. In it, Waters blamed “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine for having “set your country on the path to this disastrous war.”

“He doesn’t realize the truth. He doesn’t understand what is going on in Ukraine,” Warsaw Councilman Lukasz Wantuch, who has been on dozens of humanitarian missions to Ukraine since the war began, told the Associated Press. Wantuch urged Waters to join him on a trip to see the devastation caused by Russian attacks and said the musician was free to book shows at a privately owned venue instead.


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June 21, 2017

Waters, writing on Facebook, blamed the canceled shows and Wantuch’s “draconian censoring” of his work on his “public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace, rather than escalate matters towards a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet.”

The This Is Not a Drill tour begins March 17 in Lisbon, Portugal, and ends June 10 in Manchester, England. Poland remains off the calendar.