Haim hit back after accusations of “acting” during live performance: “Don’t ever say we don’t play our instruments”

Haim performing live
(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Haim have taken to social media to hit back at “acting” accusations, after an individual questioned whether bass guitar player Este Haim was playing during a recent live performance.

Under a video posted by NME of Haim playing their 2013 cut My Song 5, one Instagram user wrote, “Is it just me or is the bassist just acting?”

Haim themselves responded to the comment directly – writing, “I can’t believe this shit is STILL happening” – before addressing the wider issue on their own platform soon after.

“I’m so used to seeing this shit on every fucking video of us playing ever, but I’m so over it,” the trio of sisters – Este, Danielle and Alana – wrote on an Instagram story. “Don’t ever say we don’t play our fucking instruments.”

The original comment has since been deleted, but was up long enough for numerous other users to commend Este’s performance in the video: “Is it just me or is Este Haim insanely talented?” one wrote.

Screenshot of Haim's Instagram story

(Image credit: Haim/Instagram)

In reality, Este absolutely rips in the clip – that percussive right hand thumb action is on point – so it’s unfortunately yet another case of baseless gender bias finger-pointing from anonymous online users.

The situation isn’t new to Haim, who not only have had to face similar accusations from people underestimating their musical abilities, but have also had commentators take aim at their stage presence.

Este specifically once spoke to the Independent of the unnecessary criticism she faces for her expressive “bass face”, saying, “I see men making faces on stage, and it’s a reaction from feeling the music.” 

She added, “I made the mistake early on of looking at comments on live performances, which I don’t do anymore, and all these comments, mostly men, were like, ‘Urgh, ugly, grotesque, get her off the fucking stage, why is she making those faces?’ Men were like, 'Get her off the stage, why is she making those faces?’

“I think some men have a problem with seeing a woman enjoying herself. That’s threatening to them.”

“They want us to be a rock band,” added Alana, “and then Este has these faces where she expresses herself, and it’s like, ‘But no, you’re a woman, you should be more pretty. Why aren’t you being pretty?’”

It’s this sort of negative resistance the band – and, indeed, many other female artists – have had to face, with Haim even going as far as naming their third studio album Women in Music Pt III in a tongue-in-cheek nod to those who have attempted to belittle their achievements and talents.

In an interview with Guitar World, Este spoke of the “amazing female musicians” she’s come across in her career, calling the community a “tight-knit crew” that supports each other “‘til the cows come home”.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.