Bono was seen giving a Nazi salute in concert — but not as a tribute to Hitler.
The U2 frontman made the salute at a show in Paris on Sunday to mock a far-right Swedish political party.
The Local Sweden reported he made the gesture twice, each time yelling “Akesson!” Jimmie Akesson is the head of the Sweden Democrats, a formerly white nationalist party with roots in neo-Nazism that is now focused on reducing immigration.
The Sweden Democrats gained ground in Swedish elections on Sunday, increasing their share of the public’s vote from 12.9 percent last year to 17.6%, its highest tally ever. That result mirrors the rise of far-right parties in other Western European countries, such as Austria, Germany, and France, over the past few years.
Bono, in character as Mister Macphisto, a devilish alter ego he originally developed for the band’s 1992-93 Zoo TV tour, said, “I’m just back from Sweden, I didn’t know how much I liked the Swedish. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed…boring.”
“But now it seems the Swedes are beginning to discover their Aryan potential,” he continued.
Watch Bono’s stunt in full here:
The election was Sweden’s first since the government in 2015 allowed 163,000 migrants into the country with a population of 10 million. The number is far lower than the asylum-seekers Germany accepted that year, but highest per capita of any European nation.
Immigration was the hot topic of the campaign, helping the steady rise in popularity of the Sweden Democrats.
The party has worked to soften its neo-Nazi image while helping to break down longstanding taboos on what Swedes could say openly about immigration and integration without being shunned as racists.
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