Action Bronson has been removed from George Washington University’s annual Spring Fling concert lineup, which takes place on Saturday, following students’ complaints that claim the rapper’s lyrics are misogynistic and that he’s had “a history of public transphobia,” as XXL reports. On Thursday, Bronson apologized in an open letter.
On Tuesday, the school’s student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, published an editorial calling for the rapper’s removal from the concert’s lineup. “Bronson has a history of public transphobia, and has mocked transgendered people on Instagram,” opinions editor Sarah Blugis wrote. “He’s also been widely criticized for the  song ‘Consensual Rape,’ in which he describes drugging and raping a woman.” She also cited his “Brunch” video, which features Bronson cooking next to a dead woman, placing her body in a car trunk and then stabbing her “while shouting gendered insults.”
A petition was also started calling for the rapper’s removal, which was addressed to the GWU Program Board. On Thursday, it was announced Bronson would no longer be headlining the concert. “We apologize for causing distress over the past few days and for attempting to bring an artist who is not consistent with our values of diversity and inclusion,” the GWU Program Board said in a statement. GoldLink will replace Bronson as Spring Fling’s headliner.
Following the announcement of Bronson’s removal from the show, the rapper responded to the criticisms in an open letter, as Pitchfork notes. The letter is addressed to the students at George Washington University and the public at large. “It has become clear to me that things have reached a point which makes me feel the need to address the issues raised so that we can bring some understanding and healing to the table, so to speak,” he wrote. “I can’t continue to walk around with the thought that people are thinking these things about me that are far from who I really am.”
The rapper went on to explain that “Consensual Rape” was “never meant to represent who I am, but rather to depict a story,” Bronson wrote. “I approach my music as other types of artists approach their work, and I don’t intend the stories that I tell, the characters that I play in them or the lyrics I lay down to be taken literally.” He likened his approach to that of a director creating a movie or an author writing a book.
“Regardless, I understand that when it comes to musicians, and more specifically rappers, the lyrics I say are taken to heart many times as a representation of my beliefs or true feelings. So, please let me make this very clear: I think rape and acts of violence toward woman are DISGUSTING,” he continued. “I would never condone anything remotely close to that type of behavior, and it’s certainly not what I’m about at all.
“But the song in question has caused people discomfort and pain and I’m sincerely sorry about it. It was not my intention to hurt people when I made it years ago, and I certainly will be much more sensitive on this matter moving ahead.”
He closed the letter by addressing an “insensitive Instagram post” where he inappropriately labeled someone as transsexual and acknowledged that he was being disrespectful. He wrote that he has met with members of the LGBT community “to understand how to avoid being hurtful and insensitive towards these issues moving forward. I have never had any issues with anyone’s sexual orientation or gender transitioning. I’m far, far from perfect and I recognize my flaws and I’m making an effort to grow and be a better human.”