Serj Tankian Is Still Mad At Imagine Dragons Over Their Azerbaijan Concert

System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian isn’t backing down from his criticism of Imagine Dragons‘ decision to perform in Azerbaijan last year.

Tankian previously urged the band to cancel their Baku Olympic Stadium concert due to the actions of Azerbaijan’s authoritarian leader, Ilham Aliyev. He warned them it would “negatively impact their brand” and that they should “decipher all the facts” before playing.

In a recent interview, Tankian expressed renewed frustration with Imagine Dragons. “Who are these people?” he questioned. “I don’t understand their thinking.” He pointed out the timing of the concert shortly before Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, which displaced 120,000 Armenians.

Tankian clarified he doesn’t dictate where bands perform. “There are artists everywhere playing in questionable regimes,” he acknowledged. However, he draws a hard line when it comes to humanitarian crises.

“When there’s a government that’s about to commit ethnic cleansing, when Azerbaijan was starving the 120,000 Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and not allowing any food or medicine in… you know, as an artist, if I found that out, there is no f**king way I could have gone and played that show,” he said. “But some artists do. And I don’t know what to say about those artists. I don’t respect them as human beings. F**k their art, they’re not good human beings, as far as I’m concerned.”

He continued: “If you are that blind to justice that you will go play a show in a country that’s starving another country, illegally, according to the International Court of Justice, according to what Amnesty International is saying, what Human Rights Watch is saying… If you still go and play that country, I don’t know what to say about you as a f**king human being. I don’t even care about your music. If you’re a bad human being, I don’t give a f**k. So that’s where I’m at with that. I have zero respect for those guys.”

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds defended their decision in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, stating he doesn’t want to “deprive fans” because of their governments’ actions. He believes this creates a “slippery slope” that could prevent them from playing anywhere with problematic leaders.

In response to Reynolds’ comments, Tankian took to social media. He countered Reynolds’ “slippery slope” argument by stating, “Respectfully, I draw the line at ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

“Azerbaijan’s dictatorship with popular support was already into a 9 month starvation blockade of Nagorno-Karabagh qualified as Genocide by former [International Criminal Court] prosecutor [Luis Moreno Ocampo] when they [IMAGINE DRAGONS] decided to play Baku.

“Would they play in N**i Germany? Why don’t they want to play in Russia? Because it’s not popular?

“They support Ukraine but not Armenians of Artsakh?

“The only ‘slippery slope’ is the farce moral equivalency at the heart of this hypocritical attitude.”

“I have nothing against this guy nor his band. I just hate artists being taken advantage of to whitewash Genocidal dictatorships.”