Tom Petty Speaks Out Against Confederate Flag


Following the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, Tom Petty approached Rolling Stone with his desire to speak out in favor of the decision and express a long-held regret for his past use of the flag. During his tour for the 1985 album Southern Accents, Petty often played in front of the flag, a kind of a marketing gimmick born out of the song “Rebels” about a character who “still blames the North for his life.” In his editorial, Tom Petty says that he has always felt “downright stupid” for his part in perpetuating the symbol, saying that its use in the South represents a mentality that fails to look at all perspectives: “But when they wave that flag, they aren’t stopping to think how it looks to a black person. I blame myself for not doing that.”

Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →