By Nadeska Alexis
If Odd Future is booked to perform at a festival, it’s inevitable that there will be some form of public outcry. Back in July anti-violence organizations protested the collective’s performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival, but still, the show went on. This time, however, the Los Angeles-based crew has actually been pulled from the lineup in New Zealand’s Big Day Out festival due to objections from locals who are offended by the crew’s homophobic lyrics. Resident and activist Calum Bennachie penned a lengthy letter to the Auckland City Council, urging them to remove the group from the show.
In his letter, Bennachie referenced a similar 2010 incident where gay rights activists protested to have dancehall artist Beenie Man removed from the festival lineup. Read excerpts from Calum Bennachie protest letter below and read the full thing here.
“People like Beenie Man and groups like Odd Future that promote hatred and discrimination against groups encourage violence against those groups. If it is acceptable to say something similar to “Gays are a cancer on society that deserves to be eliminated?”, then what group would be next?
Therefore, by allowing Odd Future to play at BDO, you are proving that you have little concern for the lives and welfare of LGBT people, that you are willing to endanger their lives, and seek to encourage stigmatisation against them. I find this disappointing in an organisation that could do so much to enhance the self esteem of youth, reduce stigma, and discourage violence. Over the last year we have heard of a number of LGBT youth who have committed suicide due to bullying tactics that are endorsed by music that belittles LGBT people, such as that played by Odd Future.
Lyrics such as those played by Odd Future increase the societal discourse against LGBT people, a discourse that encourages bullying and violence.
Just as there are precedents for not allowing Beanie Man into New Zealand, I believe those same precedents apply in this case. I therefore encourage you to reverse your decision to allow Odd Future to play at BDO, and thus prove that you do care about all members of society.”