Oasis' Noel Gallagher Gets Backlash for Mocking Disabled Concertgoers

Oasis guitarist/singer Noel Gallagher was criticized by fans for his recent comments mocking disabled concertgoers when he recalled attending the Glastonbury Festival last month. Gallagher, 55, told The Matt Morgan Podcast he and his friends watched a performance from the disabled platform. The musician joked about pushing someone out of a wheelchair to get a seat on the platform.

Gallagher said he and Rita Ora tried to get to the platform reserved for disabled concertgoers to watch Jamie T, but was stopped by a security guard, reports The Mirror. Since Gallagher had just finished his own performance at another stage, he showed the guard his Access All Areas pass. "I said: 'See that pass mate? It gets me any f—ing where," Gallagher told Morgan. He went on to joke that he "would have" knocked someone from a wheelchair and put his son in it to get on the platform. Gallagher said he would pretend to tap people on their foreheads, telling them to "rise... you can walk."

The "Wonderwall" songwriter said his group could not get to the stage because they were drunk, so he "flashed my pass and said this lot are with me and we walked on to this platform – unbeknownst to us it was the disabled platform." Gallagher went on to say that "those disabled cats have a great view of everything."

Disability advocates and fans were shocked by Gallagher's comments. "The casual abuse and belittling of disabled people in this interview is vile," Warren Kirwan, Media Manager at disability equality charity Scope, told The Mirror. "There is no excuse for this kind of language." Kirwan noted that the platforms exist "so that disabled people can enjoy live music – without them many of our festivals would simply be off-limits."

Gallagher's brother, Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, denounced the comments as well. "I'd like to apologize on behalf of my family about the little fellas recent remarks about people with disabilities SORRY were not all c—s LG," Liam, 49, wrote on Instagram.

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BBC News journalist Alex Taylor, who uses a wheelchair, called Gallagher's comments "beyond cheap." One fan wrote, "Noel loves telling very tall stories. Is this one of them? Not sure. Is it funny? No. Is it disrespectful? Yes." Another called Gallagher's comments "messed up." 

Gallagher performed at Glastonbury with his band High Flying Birds. In a BBC Radio 2 interview, he said he enjoys attending the festival because it is one of the few without major corporate sponsorship. "'It is the only festival in the world, in the truest sense of the word, I've done them all, they're all big gigs in fields, sponsored by tech companies," he said. "This is the only one where it's a festival of the arts."