Jesus Comment Endangers Beatles in America

The following article appeared in New Musical Express on August 12, 1966, page 2.

The Beatles were leaving yesterday (Thursday) for their third American tour-and a hotbed of trouble. The question was: Will The Beatles be safe in America? Reports from NME correspondents on both sides of the United States indicate that people there are seething over the religious remarks made by John Lennon in an interview with the London "Evening Standard", printed last March, which has since been syndicated throughout the world - writes Chris Hutchins.
From New York June Harris cables: "Protests are expected all along the tour - enough for the organization to be seriously concerned for The Beatles' security.
"Even at this late stage there are rumours that they will cancel the tour but this could have a disastrous effect on their career."
Undoubtedly The Beatles concerts will be their usual tremendous successs. Few genuine Beatles fans will have been swayed by John's alleged opinions on religion. But his remarks have supplied fuel to people who have never liked The Beatles; those who are jealous of their success.
Remember the trouble in Manila a few weeks ago? Few of those people who angrily jostled John, Paul, George and Ringo really cared about the lady they were supposed to have offended. The incident have provided an excuse for non-Beatle fans to "have a to". In short, it has become almost fashionable to be a Beatle hater.
So how much danger do they face in America? Certainly far more than they ever could at home. There has been no major British reaction over the issue. Nobody tried to ban their records when the article was published here.
But Americans are demonstrative; their protests can be fanatical. Violence which is unheard of there is going on in some part of teh U.S. every day. The Ku-Klux-Klan is already trying to organise fires burning Beatles records and hair from Beatles haircuts-the sort of ritual our own ancestors indulged in centuries ago.
We used to burn heretics-let's hope the Klansmen don't have the same fate in mind for The Beatles!
Ignore the action being taken by American radio stations banning Beatle records-in most cases it's typical of the stunts staged by these publicity seekers. It won't harm their record sales and the stations will be quick to "reinstate" the records when audicenes figures start to drop away.
But don't ignore the threats of demonstrations-these could be dangerous. In New York at the weekend Brian Epstein told the Press it was a storm in a cup of tea... But he left a sick bed in Wales, where he had been ordered by his doctor for complete rest, and flew 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to tell them that!
Station KRLA, promoting The Beatles show at Dodger Statium, 28 August, was quick with editorial statements. Station manager John Barrett stated: "If you remember you history, a group of British subjects came to America to avoid public censure of their religious beliefs. After many hardships, they won this religious freedom.
"Americans still enjoy this freedom. Therefore at KRLA we do not believe it is our right to question the religious beliefs of The Beatles or any other talent. We are only interested in the quality of the entertainment they provide. We will continue to play Beatle recordings."

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