Rod Stewart Faces Backlash From Fans in Germany After Supporting Ukraine

Veteran musician Rod Stewart faced a backlash from some fans during a recent concert in Germany after expressing his support for Ukraine.

The 79-year-old singer, known for hits like “Maggie May” and “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” has been vocal in his backing for Ukraine since the war began in February 2022. However, his stance didn’t sit well with all attendees at a sold-out show in Leipzig on Friday. When a large image of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on the screen behind Stewart as he sang “Rhythm of My Heart” as a tribute to Ukraine, fans booed and whistled.

A video shared on social media showed the audience’s reaction. Germany’s Tag 24 news outlet reported that Stewart dedicated the song to the Ukrainian people and military, then uttered a curse against Russian President Vladimir Putin before beginning to sing. He was also sporting Ukrainian colors, including a yellow shirt and a blue sequined jacket. The backdrop also featured images of the Ukrainian flag and troops.

Stewart’s public support for Ukraine has been met with positive reactions at past concerts, such as those in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Since the start of the conflict, he has included dedications to Ukraine in his performances and has spoken out in interviews about issues like providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

“I’ve been supporting them for years, the Ukrainians,” Stewart said in a March 2023 interview with Sky News. He added, “If the Ukrainians lose, it’s the end of civilization as we know it. It’s all over.”

Germany has been a leading provider of aid to Ukraine, contributing around €34 billion ($36.4 billion) in bilateral support since the war began. However, public support for this policy has waned. A poll released in April by broadcaster ZDF found that only 42% of Germans believe their government should increase aid to Ukraine. About 82% of respondents said they don’t think Ukraine can defeat Russia, up from 70% in August 2022.

German lawmaker Michael Roth, a foreign policy expert for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), criticized the fans who booed Stewart’s Ukraine tribute. “My hero of the day: Rod Stewart,” he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Thank you for your solidarity with the Ukrainian people. And his empathy-less fans who live in mental Putin servitude should be ashamed, if they still can!”