Odd Future were banned from entering New Zealand to play Eminem’s Rapture Festival in Auckland after Immigration officials “deemed [the group] to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence,” The Guardian reports.
Specifically, government officials cited a 2011 incident in Boston where members of Odd Future reportedly urged fans to attack police officials, leading to a dust-up that left one officer hospitalized. “It’s not a decision we take lightly and not one that happens often,” said Border Operations Manager Karen Urwin, adding that travelers who lose their visas over character concerns are not typically musicians, but white supremacist group leaders or well-known Holocaust deniers.
According to a tweet from Christian Clancy, the group’s manager, New Zealand officials alerted OF to the ban an hour before their flight and “after approving and issuing visas.” De facto frontman Tyler, the Creator also chimed in, tweeting: “OF is banned from New Zealand, again. They said we were ‘terrorist threats and bad for the society’ or whatever. Sick. They are Anti Golf.”
The “again” is most likely a reference to another 2011 incident when the group was dropped from the Big Day Out festival after the Auckland City Council said the group’s lyrics were misogynistic and homophobic. Language, however, is not the issue here, with Urwin saying: “If we banned people who used swear words, we wouldn’t have many people left in New Zealand.” Despite the new ban, high profile OF member Earl Sweatshirt recently performed at Auckland’s Laneway Festival.
This type of controversy is nothing new to Odd Future: Back in June 2013, Tyler invoked the ire of Australian feminist group Collective Shout and Alex Hawke, a conservative member of the Australian House of Representatives, both of whom lobbied for the rapper’s visa to be revoked over character concerns. While the OF honcho made it down under, he focused his vitriol towards Collective Shout member Talithia Stone, calling her a “fucking bitch” and a “fucking whore” during his show and adding, “Yeah, I got a sold-out show right now, bitch. Hey, this fucking song is dedicated to you, you fucking cunt.” Stone, who was in the crowd that night and videotaped the rapper’s tirade, filed a report with the police on the grounds of verbal abuse.
In 2011, in the midst of Odd Future sudden jump from the Tumblr pages to IRL, the group’s set at the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago was protested by a local advocacy group hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault and violence against gays and women.