British singer Bryan Ferry apologized Monday for remarks he made in an interview with a German newspaper in which he praised Nazi iconography as “just amazing” and “really beautiful.”
The 61-year-old lead singer of Roxy Music told Germany’s Welt Am Sonntag newspaper last month: “The way that the Nazis staged themselves and presented themselves, my Lord!
“I’m talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags — just fantastic. Really beautiful.”
In a statement, Ferry said he was “deeply upset” about the negative publicity the interview triggered, and added:
“I apologize unreservedly for any offense caused by my comments on Nazi iconography, which were solely made from an art-history perspective.
“I, like every right-minded individual, find the Nazi regime, and all it stood for, evil and abhorrent.”
Jewish leaders in Britain, some of whom had condemned Ferry’s comments and questioned whether he should be dropped by the Marks & Spencer retail chain, which employs him as a model, welcomed Ferry’s clarification.
“We do welcome the fact that he has issued a swift comment that there was no intention to condone the Nazi regime,” said Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council.
“Nevertheless, his choice of language was deeply insensitive,” he added.
Lord Greville Janner, vice president of the World Jewish Congress, told Reuters: “His apology was total, appropriate and absolutely necessary. I hope that he will never make the same mistake again.”
Marks & Spencer sought to distance itself from the row.
“We do not make comment on the private lives of any individuals that we work with, nor does our commercial relationship with them mean we endorse any views they may hold,” the group said in a statement. It had no further comment.
Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler’s official filmmaker, was both admired and condemned for documentaries that pioneered film techniques while glorifying Nazism. Speer was an architect who served under Hitler.