Journalist apologies for criticising White Stripes drummer Meg White after backlash

Meg White onstage in 2010
(Image credit: Rene Johnston)

Mere days after causing an online furore by claiming that White Stripes drummer Meg White was a "terrible" musician and that the band would have been better without her "shitty" percussion, political journalist Lachlan Markay has backed down and apologised.

In a now-deleted tweet, Markay wrote: "The tragedy of the White Stripes is how great they would've been with a half decent drummer. Yeah, yeah I've heard all the 'but it's a carefully crafted sound mannnn!' takes. I'm sorry Meg White was terrible and no band is better for having shitty percussion."

The Internet came to White's defence, with musicians including The Roots' Questlove and Against Me's Laura Jane Grace and taking Markay to task.

"I try to leave ‘troll views’ alone but this right here is out of line as fuck," tweeted Questlove. "Actually what is wrong with music is people choking the life out of music like an Instagram filter – trying to reach a high of music perfection that doesn’t even serve the song (or music).”

Meanwhile, Laura Jane Grace tweeted, "Simplicity with soul will always be more impressive to me than technical virtuosity. People like to criticise drummers like Meg or Penny from Crass but literally no one can recreate their feel."

"We have multiple examples of him playing with different drummers," tweeted Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s Ruban Nielson. "I saw the White Stripes play probably 10 times or something and there’s no one like Meg White. Kids would lose their mind to her drumming."

Markay's tweet also drew criticism from Karen Elson, the former wife of of Jack White, Meg White's partner in The White Stripes. 

"Not only is Meg White a fantastic drummer, Jack also said the White Stripes would be nothing without her," wrote Elson. "To the journalist who dissed her, keep my ex-husband’s ex-wife name out of your f*cking mouth. (Please and Thank You)."

Now Markay has backed away from his original remarks in a series of tweets. 

"By now you’ve probably seen an ill-advised (and since-deleted) tweet I sent out yesterday about the White Stripes and Meg White," he wrote. "It was an over-the-top take on TWS and White as a drummer, and was, let’s face it, just truly awful in every way. Petty, obnoxious, just plain wrong.

“I don’t know if Meg White herself saw that tweet. I hope not, because I imagine it wouldn’t feel great to see a stranger dumping on you like that. So to Meg White: I am sorry. Really. And to women in the music business generally, who I think are disproportionately subject to this sort of shit, I am sorry to have fed that as well. I’m really going to try to be more thoughtful in the future, both on here and off.”

“I’ve been thinking to myself as all this – again, completely justified – hate comes in over the last 24 hours: why did I actually write that? It’s not what I really think, and I like to think I’m not the asshole it made me out to be, or at least I try not to be."

He finished by saying, "I think the answer, in part, is that sort of vicious sniping is something that we – us online folks – tend to reward with eyes and clicks. And I think I got caught up in that implicit incentive structure with a needlessly inflammatory, downright mean, and most importantly false take.”

Markay also updated his twitter bio to include the description, "Bad music take haver."

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Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.