AEG Live and LiveNation have canceled all of their scheduled concerts featuring Jamaican singer Buju Banton, after orgs protested the playdates because of the performer's use of homophobic lyrics that promote violence against gays.
A spokesman for AEG Live said that it has canceled scheduled performances on Oct. 14 at the Nokia Club, on Oct. 10 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco and on Sept. 12 at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia. A spokesman for LiveNation said on Thursday that it had dropped four concerts scheduled in October at the House of Blues venues in Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston.
Banton's 1988 song "Boom Boom Bye" featured lyrics and verses that, among other things, talk of shooting gay men in the head and burning them. His concerts have been cancelled before after pressure from gay and lesbian organizations, including dates in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2006.
In a letter this week to Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live, and Paul Tollett, the company's president, Lorri L. Jean of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center said that they are "an ardent supporter of freedom of speech and artistic expression, but we cannot and will not tolerate speech — in any form — that promotes violence against LGBT people." The Gay Liberation Network in Chicago also waged a campaign calling on LiveNation to cancel its shows.
Banton could not be reached for comment, but in 2006, shortly after his previous appearances were cancelled, he told Billboard.com, "I have never bashed any gays before, and if I bashed gays, I bashed them 16 years ago. There's no tolerance from [the gay community]. I'm not a gay basher. I'm not a homophobe."