Theresa May banned the rapper Tyler the Creator from entering Britain for up to five years this week in the Home Office’s latest attack on freedom of speech.
In a letter to the artist’s manager Christian Clancy, the home secretary claimed lyrics from Tyler’s early albums Bastard (2009) and Goblin (2011) “encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality” and “fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts”, despite reportedly acknowledging the lyrics were written from the perspective of an alter ego.
Taking to Twitter Tyler announced cancellations in a number of British cities, apologising to fans:
DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES I WONT BE PLAYING READING, LEEDS, BELFEST AND OTHER SHOWS IN THE UK. SUCKS AND IM SORRY. I LOVE YOU, SAVE THE HORSES -T
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) August 24, 2015
BASED ON LYRICS FROM 2009 I AM NOT ALLOWED IN THE UK FOR 3-5 YEARS ( although i was there 8 weeks ago) THAT IS WHY THE SHOWS WERE CANCELLED.
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) August 26, 2015
Tyler has been to Britain more than 20 times in the last five years, according to his manager, who said the ban was part of “a broader issue of free speech” and failed to note changes in his client’s views since recording those albums.
“I’m not defending his old lyrics,” Clancy said. “To be honest they make me cringe, but I stand beside him because of who he actually is.
“There’s a lot to absorb and understand, but while he gets painted as some sort of antichrist I want to make sure people know the facts, which are that he hasn’t delved into those lyrics in years – he writes songs about cars and spreading your wings.”
He also speculated, unconvincingly, that Tyler’s race might have factored into the decision.
A spokesperson for Jackboot May defended the home secretary’s right to exclude those whose presence is not “conducive to the public good” – whatever that means.
The case of Tyler follows the banning of the dating coach Julien Blanc from entering the country at the end of last year over material he posted online that campaigners labelled racist and sexist.
In an interview with American broadcaster CNN, Blanc defended himself, saying jokes had been taken out of context and that the spin on his words was not in line with what he taught.
Clancy’s full response to Tyler’s banning can be viewed below:
Image Credit – Tyler the Creator in Pomona, California, by demxx