A Kentucky man has been released from jail after spending eight days locked up for posting lyrics belonging to the California metal band Exodus on his personal Facebook page. Police reportedly arrested 31-year-old James Evans after the lyrical excerpts were deemed to be “terroristic threatening”.
As NBC News 14 reports, on 24th August, Evans posted lines from Exodus’ 2010 single Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer). The lyrics, gruesome though typical for metal, read, “Student bodies lying dead in the halls, a blood splattered treatise of hate / Class dismissed is my hypothesis, gun fire ends in debate“.
Though Evans’ family said he regularly posts lyrics from his favourite metal bands, in this instance the quotes became a cause for concern for local parents, who phoned the Muhlenberg County school district. Evans was arrested on 27th August for “terroristic threatening” and released on bail on Wednesday.
“It’s nonsense,” Evans told NBC following his release. “I feel like my civil rights have been violated. You know, first amendment, freedom of speech, [that all went] out the window. Even all the guys I was in the cell with they thought it was nonsense themselves.” Evans insisted that “several officials” informed him that the charges were “nonsense [and] that there was no reason why I should have even been [there].”
Exodus have taken to their website to respond to the “unfortunate situation”, writing that while the band “does not promote or condone terrorists, threats or bullying”, they are “somewhat baffled by the fact that this man being charged for what seems against his first amendment rights of Freedom Of Speech.”
“The idea that an individual in this great country of ours could be arrested for simply posting lyrics to a song is something I never believed could happen in a free society,” said Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. “James Evans was simply posting lyrics to a band he likes on Facebook, and he was locked up for it.”
According to Holt, the song “was written as a view through the eyes of a madman and in no way endorses that kind of fucked up behavior.” Holt stated that the song was inspired by the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and that the band “put the brakes on playing it live” following the Sandy Hook shooting.
According to NBC, Evans has been told that his case has been deferred for six months and that he will have to undergo mental evaluation by Muhlenberg County. Readers can check below to see Exodus’ and Gary Holt’s statements on the bizarre incident, as well as the song at the centre of the whole debacle.
Listen: Exodus – Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)