Think Eminem's controversial in America? In England, where the rapper just launched a sold-out tour Thursday, Slim Shady already is under all sorts of heat from police, protesters and the media.
British police told Reuters they are looking into the legality of Eminem's opening-night show in Manchester, England, where he took the stage with a chainsaw, simulated an electric-chair execution and popped what he said were ecstasy pills.
"We had people inside watching the act, and we have seized the videotape the arena used to record the act," Chief Inspector Steve White said. "We are particularly looking to see if he was inciting people to take drugs."
Eminem performed the same show in North America for several months on last fall's Anger Management Tour with Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. Although Canadian officials threatened to pull the plug on the 28-year-old Detroit native, it was his lyrics that prompted the controversy, not his stage antics (see "Canadian Officials Asked To Stop Eminem At Border"). In the end, the shows went off without problems.
In the U.K., Eminem's homophobic and misogynistic raps have also been under attack. On Thursday, 100 demonstrators reportedly greeted the 15,000 fans attending his concert with chants of "Stop the bigotry. Stop the hate."
Eminem's entourage switched Manchester hotels the night before the show to avoid clashes with protesters, according to Reuters.
Since arriving in England, Eminem (born Marshall Mathers) has also seen his troubled family life thrust under the media microscope.
On Friday (February 9), BBC radio interviewed his grandmother, Betty Mathers, who commented on Debbie Mathers-Briggs' $10 million defamation against her son. "I would like to stop this war between us because life is too short," she said.
"Eminem was not given a gold spoon or a silver spoon when he was born," Betty Mathers added. "His mother had a one-room apartment. He had no father in his life. He tried to write to his father many, many times. The letters were always returned."
Eminem's father, Marshall Mathers II, was interview by the British tabloid The Mirror from his home in San Diego, California.
"I desperately want to meet my son and tell him that I love him," he told the paper. "I'm not interested in his money. I just want to talk to him."
The plea follows a peace offering from Mathers-Briggs, who said Thursday she is considering dropping the lawsuit against her son (see "Eminem's Mother May Drop Defamation Lawsuit").
Eminem begins a two-night stay at the London Arena on Friday.