St Pancras piano 'sealed off' after clash between pianist and Chinese tourists who demanded their faces were hidden

23 January 2024, 18:47 | Updated: 23 January 2024, 19:40

The St Pancras International piano has been sealed off by station staff
The St Pancras International piano has been sealed off by station staff. Picture: Youtube/Brendan Kavanagh
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A piano at St Pancras International station has been sealed off after a clash between a pianist and Chinese tourists who demanded their faces be hidden from his livestream video.

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Popular pianist Brendan Kavanagh shared a livestream video to his two million YouTube followers on Friday while performing on a public piano at the central London station.

The group of tourists, who were holding flags of the People's Republic of China, stood at the back of the video when Kavanagh started playing.

They quickly confronted the pianist and asked him if their faces were visible in the footage, before demanding Kavanagh stop filming.

The confrontation sparked outrage online and has now led to the piano in question being sealed off and protected by station staff.

Speaking today, Kavanagh said: "The station have cordoned off the piano and put two guards either side of the piano."

He continued: "You can't make this stuff up."

This Whole Situation Just Got Even CRAZIER

A spokesperson for the station said: "Due to maintenance works being carried out in the main concourse of St. Pancras International Station, the Elton John piano is currently out of use.

"Those looking to play the piano during this time can use the Rogers piano near the International Arrivals.

"We look forward to reopening the Elton John piano to the public tomorrow (24 January) in a location on the concourse that is away from the ongoing works."

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Kavanagh had protested against the tourists telling him to stop filming, insiting he was able to film them because they were in a public place.

Another man in the group then interjected and told the pianist they have to protect their “voice and images” due to “an agreement with other people” not to show their faces online.

The man later threatened Kavanagh with legal action.

Police Called To Stop Filming During Piano Livestream

But Kavanagh refused to back down, as he says: “We're in a free country, we're not in Communist China now, you know?”

The man replied: “I’m sorry, this is racist now.”

Eventually, two police officers get involved in the dispute.

One officer told the group “if they're filming they have the right to do it in a public place” while the other told Kavanagh to stop filming and that he can’t share the clip because it is a “police matter”.

The police then spoke to the group away from the camera, after they told the Youtuber he must not use the footage of them on his channel.

"Because there's money being made, they work for a company, and their faces can't be shown on TV or somebody's channel," the officer says.

Kavanagh interjected: “You're not their private security agent.”

The officer then said the group had accused him of making racist remarks and trying to indecently touch one of them, although Kavanagh said he was just trying to touch one of the flags.

The police officer later warned him: “This is not to go on your channel by the way, this is me talking to you.”

But he replied: “Listen, we're in Britain, we're in a public space, it's a free country.”

Eventually, the group and police move on and Kavanagh finished his livestream, declaring “free speech prevails”.

Kavanagh was praised online for 'refusing to back down'.

One wrote: "Stand up for yourself mate, I'm 100% with you, and keep filming!"

While another said: "Admire what you did Brendan. Do not afraid to speak the truth and do whatever a free country allows you to do."

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