Ashton Irwin apologises after 5SOS fans call out controversial Confederate flag t-shirt
6 March 2019, 16:11
5SOS drummer Ashton Irwin wore a t-shirt with a confederate flag on the front. Irwin apologised after fans urged him to disavow the controversial attire.
5 Seconds of Summer's Ashton Irwin has apologised to fans after being called out for sporting a t-shirt with a Confederate flag on the front. Historically, the Confederate flag has been strongly associated with secessionist states during The American Civil War. The top in question also happened to be a Lynyrd Skynyrd band tee.
Fans urged Ashton to apologise after photographer @kaykay posted a shot of him wearing the shirt to her Instagram story.
It didn't take long for fans to notice and call out the emblem, which is regarded as offensive by many.
The band on Ashton's shirt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, has had a long and complicated history with the use of the confederate flag on their merchandise.
During the American Civil War, the Confederate flag (also known as the Rebel flag) was an emblem of the states which fought to leave the Union over their desire to continue owning slaves. Today, some southerners fly it with the intention of expressing "southern pride", however it is largely viewed as a controversial symbol.
Some 5SOS fans expressed unease at the symbol, while others maintained that it was "just a shirt".
ashton...... that lynyrd skynyrd shirt........... rlly? pic.twitter.com/XmxgpUCTAr— danica (@sincerebambi) March 5, 2019
Many fans defended the 5SOS drummer.
Ashton apologised soon after acknowledging that it was a "mistake" and explaining that he hadn't realised what was on the t-shirt.
Hey! This was a mistake and I didn’t realize that this shirt had a flag on it. Apologies.— Ashton Irwin (@Ashton5SOS) March 5, 2019
It was a dumb action I agree!— Ashton Irwin (@Ashton5SOS) March 5, 2019
Ashton's acknowledgement of his fans' viewpoint and subsequent apologies are both commendable. It's entirely reasonable to imagine that someone born and raised in Australia might not have the same racial context to understand why the Confederate flag is so controversial.
It's also important that fans keep educating their idols on key social issues such as these.