Met police defend decision not to ban homophobic performer
London’s police service has been criticised by gay rights activists for allowing a concert by a notoriously homophobic singer to go ahead in the city this weekend.
It is the second time the Met have been accused of double standards for allowing a concert by Bounty Killer.
At his Easter Sunday concert in Stratford he did not perform any of his songs that call for gay people to be killed.
The Jamaican reggae and dancehall DJ, born Rodney Price, had two concerts cancelled in Bradford and Birmingham in March following protests by the gay human rights group OutRage!
The Met have previously stated that artists would not be allowed to perform unless they sign the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA), which prohibits the performance of any music that encourages or glorifies any form of violence.
Price, who was brought up in Kingston, Jamaica, became a household name in Jamaica in the early 90s, and later became known in the USA and Europe after collaborating with the Fugees, Wyclef Jean and No Doubt.
In 2003, he cancelled two of his concerts in the UK, fearing he would be arrested for the homophobic content of his songs.
Price’s lyrics include the lines “You know we need no promo to rub out dem homo” and “Mi ready fi go wipe out this fag”, which encourage the murder of homosexuals.
The Met police told PinkNews.co.uk:
“We are aware of a planned concert by the artist Bounty Killer at Stratford Rex on Sunday November 23rd.
“Conferences have been held between the police, the venue’s management and the artist’s manager in order to consider the most productive way to handle the matter.
“A previous concert at the venue with the artist passed of without incident. The club have given us full access and we will deal robustly with any offences that arise.”
It is understood that Bounty Killer has given an undertaking not to perform any of his homophobic songs.
“The Metropolitan Police is hypocritical on hate crimes,” said Peter Tatchell, co-ordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign.
“It allows homophobic singers to perform in London, but not racist ones.
“Racist artists are banned on the grounds that they are a threat to public order and good community relations. This is a case of double standards.
“The Met Police have previously said that murder music singers will not be allowed to perform unless they sign the RCA.
“Officers have broken their promise. They are taking the side of a singer who has promoted and celebrated the murder of gay people, and who is defying the RCA.
“The police do, however, stress that Bounty Killer will not be permitted to perform songs that incite homophobic violence. Big deal.
“A white racist singer who advocated killing black people would not be allowed to perform in London, even if he agreed to not incite the killing of black people at his concert. They have adopted this zero tolerance policy towards white racist bands like Skrewdriver.
“Yet when it comes to straight homophobic singers who urge the murder of gay people, the police take a softer stance. They have agreed to let the concert go ahead, despite their professed commitment to oppose homophobic hate crimes. It’s bare-faced hypocrisy.”
Mr Tatchell, who is a parliamentary candidate for the Green party, also accused gay people of apathy.
“Much of our queer community is riddled with internalised homophobia, including gay rights organisations – many of which apparently agree with the police that inciting racist violence is worse than inciting homophobic violence,” he said.
A spokesman for the concert’s organisers Cavalli and Paradise Promotions told the Daily Mail:
“He performed two months ago at the Stratford Rex and we were assured by his agency that he had signed the RCA.
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“We wouldn’t have booked him otherwise because we know the consequences of this. We’ve worked with the police, who will be securing the event for us, and they seem satisfied.”
In July 2007 artists Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton, who had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, signed up to the Reggae Compassion Act, in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.
The Act reads:
“It must be clear there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.
“We do not encourage nor minister to HATE but rather uphold a philosophy of LOVE, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING towards all human beings as the cornerstone of reggae.
“We agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community.”