Animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has blasted STAIND frontman Aaron Lewis for posting a photo of him and three fellow hunters spelling out “Trump 24” using what appears to be 32 dead coyotes.
“How vile and pathetic that a washed-up musician, desperate for relevance, terrorized and killed animals to get a brief taste of the attention he obviously craves,” Lisa Lange, PETA‘s senior vice president, said in a statement to Billboard. “Just like the dogs who share our homes, coyotes feel pain and fear and love their families, and because they’re one of the few species found in nearly every U.S. state, they’re beloved by many as America’s ‘song dog.’ PETA encourages Aaron Lewis to seek attention through some act of kindness, rather than slaughtering individuals who are simply trying to eke out an existence in an increasingly paved-over world.”
The 51-year-old outspoken conservative rocker shared the picture to his Instagram on Wednesday (October 18) while also promoting the presale for his upcoming solo tour.
He captioned the photo: “Successful morning in Texas. Presale for AFL 2024 dates starts today. Use code AFL2024 to get priority access before tickets go on sale this Friday.”
A number of commenters below Aaron‘s post expressed their displeasure over the image, with one writing: “Those coyotes aren’t nearly as dead as your career has been for the last 20 years.” Another person wrote: ” This is so disturbing. Sociopath shit”. A third person added: Playing with dead animals is grotesque. What a way to get attention”. A fourth person weighed in: “Pretend tough guy and prima donna Aaron Lewis is as good of a marketer as he is a musician: subpar shit. Go throw a temper tantrum in the middle of a show again.” A fifth person added: “I don’t care if it’s legal or not…. I find this very disturbing. I’m a republican and this is horrible… it takes a very evil heart to do this…. unfollowing and hopefully you loose a lot of fans…. I’m definitely not giving up my money for you….” A sixth person wrote: “This is just disgusting, politics aside…” A seventh person chimed in: “Just became a fan after relating to your song ‘Someone’. Now I’m unfollowing. I’m not a democrat, but promoting a political campaign in this fashion don’t sit right with me.”
According to Texas Parks And Wildlife, there is no closed season on coyotes, which are considered to be non-game animals, and they may be hunted at any time by any lawful means on private property. Public hunting lands may have restrictions.
In most U.S. states, coyote hunting is legal all 12 months of the year.
In a 2011 interview with Outdoor Life, Lewis said that he had been hunting deer since he “was old enough to keep up in the woods, probably age four or five.”
As for what his preferred method of hunting was, Aaron said at the time: “I generally leave the guns at home when I’m hunting deer. It’s a lot more challenging to get a deer close enough to dispatch it with a compound or recurve bow. Sometimes I’ll use a muzzleloader at the end of the season. And to make the hunt last as long as it can, I’m pretty picky about what I kill.”
Asked if the other members of STAIND shared his passion for hunting, Lewis said: “No, no one else in my band is a hunter. The drummer is borderline PETA, so he and I don’t talk about it very much. Actually, I make it a point to talk to him about it as much as I can.”
Back in 2009, Lewis told AOL‘s Noisecreep that he wasn’t worried about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) coming after him for his hunting activities, which were chronicled on the Outdoor Channel the following year. Lewis said: “Bring it on. I watched [the documentary] ‘Food Inc.’ and it strengthened my beliefs in harvesting and eating my own food. I have never killed anything that I did not eat. Even when I was a kid with a BB gun, being all irresponsible and shooting squirrels and robins, my dad made me eat it all. I’ve always believed if you kill something, you have to eat it, so you better make sure it tastes good.”
Lewis has been a hunter as long as he’s been a musician, if not longer, saying, “I hunt white-tailed deer. That is my favorite. I have also hunted turkeys and have done upland bird hunting, too, like pheasants and quail.”
His hunting prowess was on display in 2010 on the Outdoor Channel series “Dream Season Celebrity”. The reality hunting show paired celebrities like Lewis with everyday hunters in competing teams around the country. Lewis said, “It’s not about who kills the most. It is a competition as to who makes the best TV show . . . So if I miss, everyone watching sees me miss. If I get a hit, people see it and so be it. But I don’t miss.”
Lewis‘s participation in the series raised funds for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, which granted once-in-a-lifetime hunting and fishing experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses.
Lewis made headlines in September 2021 when he urged his fans to chant “Fuck Joe Biden” during a STAIND concert in Pennsylvania.
In March 2022, Lewis told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn’t blindly listen to information that is delivered by the mainstream media.
“I’m not uneducated; I’m actually really smart, and I look for myself. I seek other options of information,” he said. “I refuse to believe that a huge, gigantic corporation has our best interest in mind.”
Asked where he gets his news, Lewis said: “I have news feeds and people that I follow on Telegram. Dan Ball. Andrew Wilkow. Mark Levin. If I’m gonna watch any sort of news source on television, it’s Tucker Carlson,” referencing the former Fox News host who was booted from the network in April following a damaging defamation lawsuit over false claims of election fraud.
At some of his solo concerts, Lewis had been taking the stage while wearing a black hat with white mesh and white lettering on the front clearly stating “FUJOE,” an expletive directed toward Biden.
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