Concerts by reggae stars Buju Banton and Beenie Man have been cancelled in Brighton and Bournemouth in the UK following successful lobbying of council leaders and police by local gay community organisations, with the support of gay human rights group OutRage!
Banton had been due to perform in Brighton at the Concorde 2 venue on 5 July, and Beenie was scheduled to sing at Bournemouth International Centre on 29 July.
The cancellation follows both singers’ repeated advocacy of the murder of lesbians and gay men. “We applaud the decision of the police and council to oppose the performance of a singer who advocates the murder of gays and lesbians. Incitement to murder is a criminal offence. Free speech does not include the right to encourage the killing of other human beings,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
“Inciting the murder of gays is no different to inciting the murder of Black or Jewish people. All incitements to murder are criminal offences and should be prosecuted,” he added.
OutRage! lobbied the police and council to use their powers (under Section 161 of the Licensing Act 2003), which permit the police to close a licensed premises on the grounds of a possible risk to public safety and public order.
“It could be reasonably argued that the presence of a large number of homophobic fans of an avowedly homophobic singer would threaten the safety and security of the town’s gay citizens as the fans leave the venue – a risk that would have been compounded by the presence of gay bars not far from the vicinity of the concert,” said Tatchell. “Buju’s records inciting homophobic murder are still on sale and Buju is still profiting from his murder music,” he added.
Tatchell says that the singers have reneged on an agreement to cease performing and promoting their homophobic songs. He cites the continued regular performance of the song Boom Bye Bye, by Buju Banton, which advocates the murder of gay men; urging people to shoot gays in the head, pour acid over them and burn them alive.
“We had an agreement. Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have broken that agreement. As far as they are concerned, the truce is over. The campaign against them has resumed. We will maintain the truce with the other singers who have stuck by the agreement,” said Tatchell.