When The Ark’s lead singer caught sight of some planes preparing to land at the nearby airport, he decided to remind the audience of the events of 9/11.
“In this country, you don’t know where those planes are headed,” he said. According to Expressen Salo then added: “I hope they fly into the White House rather than here”.
Media producer Steve Skemp told the Washington Post that he was flabbergasted by Salo’s comments. “I was more stunned at the reaction of the crowd, because they laughed and clapped.”
Swedish representatives were plentiful in Washington for the inauguration of the House of Sweden, which houses the new embassy. The King and Queen were returning from lunch at the White House with the President and First Lady and missed Salo’s outburst.
The Swedish Ambassador, Gunnar Lund, was in the audience. “It’s completely irresponsible and unacceptable. I can understand why people are offended by it. I’m offended by it,” Lund told the Washington Post. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who was also in the American capital, seconded Lund’s criticism.
Salo later regretted his comments. “The events of 9/11 were a great tragedy not just for Americans but for people all over the world,” he told the Washington Post. “Sometimes when I’m onstage, it’s my mouth moving and not connected to my brain.”