The Reason Rage Against The Machine Got Kicked Out From Saturday Night Live

Rage Against the Machine (RATM) is one of the most famous and outspoken rock bands of all time. It was formed in 1991 by vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk. The band is known for its unique sound and combination of rap and rock.

However, they are also known for their revolutionary political views which they always reflect through their lyrics. Since day one, RATM members have used their popularity to shed light on crucial and controversial matters. While there have been instances that their activism has been applauded, Saturday Night Live Live fired them.

Why Did Rage Against The Machine Get Banned From SNL?

As mentioned above, Rage Against The Machine is an outspoken band and their political views can be summarized as leftist anti-authoritarian. In 1996 the band was invited to perform on Saturday Night Live which they gladly accepted but the show had also booked billionaire and then-presidential candidate Steve Forbes as the show’s host.

Thus, you may be able to see how things went wrong. After finding out about who was going to host the show, RATM decided to make a statement and show that they are against everything Forbes stands for. Tom Morello said that they couldn’t just let him tell jokes about ‘his flat tax’ and that’s why they wanted to ‘stand in sharp juxtaposition.’

This is how Morello described their thoughts during an interview with LA Times:

“We knew that he was going to be making a statement – it was going to be all about how charming to have a billionaire telling these jokes and promoting his flat tax and we wanted to stand in sharp juxtaposition to that by making our own statement.

The thing that’s ironic is, Saturday Night Live is supposedly this cutting-edge show but they proved that they’re bootlickers to their corporate masters when it comes down to it. They’re cowards.”

The band decided to hang a pair of upside-down American flags from their amplifiers, which they did just before performing ‘Bulls On Parade.’ As you may know, the US flag can only be displayed upside down as a signal of dire distress and extreme danger to life and property but it is otherwise considered to be very offensive.

When the crew of SNL realized what the band members had done, they rushed onstage and removed the flags right before the cameras went on live and started recording. The RATM members were waiting in the dressing room for their second performance when they were informed that their time on the show was over.