Last year Eric Clapton really came out strongly against vaccine mandates, writing a song about it called “Stand & Deliver.” Since then he has refused to play concerts where vaccination was required. Today the Washington Post has published a lengthy investigation titled “What happened to Eric Clapton?” The story opens with Clapton’s friend Robert Cray describing an email conversation in which he didn’t like Clapton’s answers and decided to stop talking to him. Cray, who is black, specifically objected to a line in Stand & Deliver which said, “Do you wanna be a free man/Or do you wanna be a slave?”

And that really sets the tone for the rest of the piece which is basically made up of two things: 1) friends speculating why Clapton has gone all in against vaccine mandates and what that is doing to his reputation and 2) people speculating Clapton is a racist.

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What they can do is elevate this into the Washington Post and do their best to discredit Clapton and make his statements radioactive and claim that his reputation is collapsing. Collapsing with who? Some of his progressive friends? I bet he can still fill a large hall with fans almost anywhere in the world.

Clapton just completed a successful tour of the US (I saw him in September in Fort Worth, and can attest that his voice and guitar chops are both as strong as ever), and has a tour of Europe and Russia planned for next year, so yeah, he’s a very difficult guy for the left to cancel. And of course, it doesn’t matter that Clapton specifically renounced his infamous Enoch Powell-inspired meltdown uttered on stage at the depths of his 1970s-era alcoholism, in his 2017 documentary, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, stating, “When I realized what I said, I just was so disgusted with myself. I was so f***ing angry. And I thought, I needed to apologize to the people that I said that to, because it was shocking, and unforgivable, and I was so ashamed of who I was. I was becoming, not only chauvinistic, but fascistic, too. I was kind of a semi-racist – which didn’t make sense. I mean, half of my friends were black. I dated black women. And listened to black music – and championed black music. But it didn’t matter at all. They could all have gone to the wall, as long as I had the bottle. I hated everything – everything.”

As John Sexton writes, “Calling him racist or suggesting he might be is just a cheap shot way to punish anyone who fails to toe the line. It’s tiresome but not really surprising the Washington Post would pick this up this from Rolling Stone and run with it.”