A video of Rod Stewart pretending to behead a man kneeling in front of him on a sand dune in the Abu Dhabi desert sure gives the impression that he's imitating Islamic State executioners. Not so, according to Stewart. The 72-year-old singer says the video of him among a group on the dune—initially posted to Instagram by Stewart's wife but since deleted—actually shows him re-enacting a scene from Game of Thrones, per the Guardian. "From re-enacting the Beatles' Abbey Road crossing to spontaneously playing out Game of Thrones, we were simply larking about" before an Abu Dhabi show, the singer says in a statement. "Understandably, this has been misinterpreted and I send my deepest apologies to those who have been offended."
Twitter users still say the act was "deeply stupid," per the Independent. That's nothing to how John McCarthy views it. The former hostage, kidnapped in Lebanon in the 1980s, tells the BBC Stewart turned "a grotesque thing into a kind of pantomime." But columnist Marina Hyde offers another viewpoint at the Guardian. After wondering why no one referenced Stewart's "the first cut is the deepest" lyrics, she encourages people to "remember that Rod is a chap who has added to the gaiety of various nations, which is infinitely more than can be said for the endless armies of halfwits taking offense on others' behalf," specifically reporters calling up relatives of ISIS victims to ask how much the video "offended them and shamed their dead beloved's memory." (Read more Rod Stewart stories.)