U2 video shoot in Belfast caused disruption and was in poor taste, say residents

Belfast Telegraph by Amanda Ferguson (2014-12-19)

It seems Bono is capable of annoying people even when he’s not there.

Belfast residents have complained about the disruption caused by filming for a U2 video in the Village area of the city and there have been accusations the Irish rockers are “cashing in” on the Troubles.

A number of people living in Olympia Drive raised concerns about the shoot, which took place over several hours yesterday.

One man claimed cars on set had stopped social care workers parking next to the home of an elderly couple and a business owner said it was stopping people from parking at her premises.

Footage was also shot in the New Lodge area of north Belfast on Wednesday afternoon. None of the band were in Belfast for the shoot and body doubles were used.

Some residents there said the re-creation of a bomb attack, including burning vehicles, actors dressed as soldiers and extras playing traumatised victims, brought back painful memories of the Troubles.

It has been suggested U2 – Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen – are exploiting the conflict in Northern Ireland and that they have acted insensitively. One man said: “U2 were apparently trying to stage something like a bomb that happened here in the Troubles and I couldn’t believe they would do that.
“They have done various plays and films about the Troubles anyway, and the Troubles did happen.”

Another man added people had said the shoot reminded them of the “bad days of the Troubles”. And a woman said: “It looked like a film set, exciting, with big lights on. A lot of people were around it.”

Last night a spokesman for the production company behind the shoot defended it. “It has been taken out of all proportion,” he said. “We have no further comment to make.”

Actor and director Dan Gordon told the Belfast Telegraph people needed to stop playing the “blame game”. He added: “People rush to look at the negative. U2 aren’t setting out to paint us or themselves in a poor light. They are there to expose stuff and talk about it.

“Nobody even knows what the song is about and we are rushing to play the blame game.”

U2’s recent decision to accept a multi-million pound deal from Apple, which then gave away their new album – Songs Of Innocence – for free on iTunes, angered some people.

A number of Apple customers complained that they could not remove the band’s free download easily if they did not want to have it.

How Twitter reacted:

  • “Good to see U2 cashing in on the Troubles again.”
  • “Thanks U2 for shooting a music video in Belfast that makes us look like we’re still in the Troubles.”
  • “Jeez, are U2 making a music video in Belfast about the Troubles? Can’t we put the past behind us and show the world another side to us?”

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