The Who’s Pete Townshend Apologizes To Seven-Year Old
There, a long-time Who fan traveled to Hamilton from Cleveland, bringing his seven-year old daughter to see the show as well. The girl brought a homemade sign that stated "Smash Your Guitar, Pete!" which attracted unanticipated attention from the guitarist.
“Don’t wave that sign,” Townshend told her from the stage. “Just don’t wave it at me. Don’t bring your children [and] use them. I want to tell you two words, but I can’t because you have a child on you.”
He then clearly mouthed “F— off.” in a video of the incident that has since made the rounds of the internet.
This story has a happy ending of sorts though, we are happy to report. According to the Sun News Network, after hearing about the effect that the incident had upon the father and his little girl, Townshend reached out to the disaffected Who fans via letter with some help from a local DJ:
"Apologies and condolences from my side, and very best wishes to you and your family," Townshend wrote, saying he would like to "meet and be friends and put this behind us."
"I asked my friend Mike Tyler to find you so I could tell you that I am so sorry the story about us blew up the way it did, but also to tell you that I sympathize with you both, and your daughter's mother, and that I am most certainly not angry," Townshend reportedly said in his letter. "I was not angry on stage either. I was in rock star mode, the big mouth. I could have handled it differently. I thought of sending someone to find you both and telling you I was not upset, but we were flying to New York straight after the show, and had no time to spare. I wish things had been different. It would have saved you from all this furor."
The 67 year-old guitarist also addressed the girl directly. "I thought your placard was fun. I had a job to do (to announce our musicians) and I didn't want to lengthen the show by trying to deal with you directly and in detail. I was also worried that your daughter looked a little frightened as the crowd started to follow you down the aisle. The ushers should not have let you leave your seats and walk forward. All that said, you did nothing wrong."
While Townshend could have simply chosen to not add any further fuel to the fire by staying silent, his proactively reaching out to mend fences is certainly an admirable thing for him to have done. Townshend says that he hopes to privately meet with the father and daughter involved in the incident in April.