The Orange Order has urged U2 frontman Bono to set Jon Bon Jovi straight after the US rock star was accused of unfairly giving the institution a bad name.
The Order described claims by the Livin’ On A Prayer singer that Bono had been beaten up by Orangemen as a child as fictitious nonsense.
But it held out an olive branch by extending an invitation to Bon Jovi to visit its east Belfast museum.
“The comments made by Bon Jovi are hardly worth responding to because of their fictitious nature,” a spokesman for the Order said.
“Such nonsense feeds into the republican broken record of demonising unionism and the Orange family in particular.
“Sadly, the gullible and bigoted just parrot this propaganda without question. If Jon Bon Jovi is really interested in hearing the story from all sides, rather than making up his own version, we would welcome him to the Museum of Orange Heritage. We’ll even throw in a complimentary ticket.” The Order also urged Bono to set the record straight. “It would also be worthwhile if he was asked to share first-hand his ‘trauma’ at the hands of Orangemen as they marched through Finglas, Dublin, where he grew up,” it said. “Bono was vocal in supporting the Good Friday Agreement, which allegedly protects all traditions in Northern Ireland. Let’s hope he is just as vocal when putting his mate straight on the facts.”
Bon Jovi made the bizarre claim during an interview on the Armchair Expert podcast with actor Dax Shepard.
Asked about the challenges of writing political songs that risked dividing his audience, he referred to Bono. “His upbringing was obviously very different than mine.
“I mean, I never had the Orangemen walking through my neighbourhood saying, you know, ‘Get the Catholic kid and beat him up’.
“I didn’t have any of that kind of turmoil in suburban New Jersey. I had a wonderful middle-class upbringing.”
Bono grew up in Finglas, Dublin. His mother was a member of the Church of Ireland and his father was Catholic.