On the evening of March 10th, 2020, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was attacked outside of a hotel in Florida. The incident occurred after the band’s concert at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
According to reports, Allen was leaving the hotel with his wife when two men approached and began to harass them, making derogatory comments directed at Allen’s disability. As many fans know, Allen lost his left arm in a car accident back in 1984, but he has continued to play drums, and even utilizes a specially-made electronic drum kit that allows him to play with one arm.
As the situation escalated, one of the men punched Allen in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. The attackers then fled the scene, leaving Allen injured and shaken.
The incident has been widely condemned by fans and fellow musicians alike. Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage took to Twitter to express his anger, stating “I cannot comprehend how anyone could behave in such a vile and cowardly way towards another human being.”
Similarly, guitarist Phil Collen called the attack “horrific” and “unacceptable,” and promised that the band would do everything in their power to support Allen and his family in the aftermath.
The incident has also highlighted the issue of disability discrimination and the need for greater awareness and understanding of disabilities. Despite advances in technology and increased education on disabilities, people with disabilities still face countless barriers and discrimination on a daily basis.
This is not the first time that Allen has faced discrimination due to his disability. In an interview with Rolling Stone,he recalled an incident where a security guard refused to let him into a hotel because he was missing an arm. Allen also noted that he has had people come up to him after shows and say things like “you play pretty good for a guy with one arm.”
Rather than letting these incidents get him down, Allen has used his platform to spread awareness and advocate for people with disabilities. Along with his work with Def Leppard, Allen has also been involved with several disability advocacy organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project and Project Resiliency.
In the aftermath of the recent attack, Allen has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from fans and fellow musicians. Many have taken to social media to show their support and condemn the attackers, using the hashtag #JusticeForRickAllen.
The incident has also reignited the conversation about the need for greater protection and support for people with disabilities. Disability rights advocates are calling for increased education and awareness of disabilities, as well as stricter laws against disability discrimination and hate crimes.
For Allen and his family, the attack has been a traumatic experience, but they remain grateful for the support and love they have received. In a statement, Allen’s wife Lauren expressed her appreciation, saying “Thank you to everyone who has reached out with kind words and support. Rick is doing okay, and we are taking things one day at a time. We are grateful for the love and support of our friends, family, and fans.”
As the investigation continues, the focus remains on justice for Rick Allen and the need for greater understanding and support for people with disabilities. The attack has brought to light the ongoing battles faced by those with disabilities, and the reminder that we must do better as a society to eliminate discrimination and hate towards marginalized groups.