Nine days after a series of coordinated terror attacks left 130 people dead across Paris, including 89 at Le Bataclan music venue, Jared Leto and Celine Dion honored the victims with a stirring tribute during Sunday’s American Music Awards.
Leto, whose band 30 Seconds to Mars played at Le Bataclan this year, called the attacks a “horrific and senseless tragedy.”
“Like some of you here, we had friends and former colleagues there that night,” Leto said, before mentioning Thomas Ayad, the Mercury Music Group/Universal marketing manager killed at Le Bataclan. He also read a letter published by Antoine Leiris, whose wife was killed in the Bataclan assault.
“Friday night you took an exception life, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred,” Leto read. “You’re asking for it, but responding with hatred and anger is falling victim to the same ignorance and hatred that has made you what you are.”
“You want me to be scared to view my countrymen with mistrust,” Leto continued. “You lost. We are just two now, my son and me. But we are stronger than all the armies in the world.”
Leto went on to say “the entire world matters and peace is possible,” before making reference to the controversy about Syrian refugees entering the United States.
“By the way, many of us here are the sons and daughters of immigrants,” he said. “And Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant.” Leto also mentioned President Barack Obama, whose father was born in Kenya.
The Oscar-winning star then introduced Celine Dion, who performed a cover of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne A L’amour.” The emotional performance received a standing ovation when Dion finished.