Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator announced he has been banned from the United Kingdom after canceling a string of shows in the U.K. and Ireland, including sets at the Reading and Leeds Festivals.
“Based on lyrics from 2009 I am not allowed in the U.K. for 3-5 years (although I was there 8 weeks ago). That is why the shows were canceled,” the rapper wrote, in all caps, on Twitter.
“[T]he type of lyrics he hasn’t written since,” Clancy added. “[H]ighlights from the letter include that his work ‘encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality’ and ‘fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.’ I grew up on N.W.A, Eminem and Rage Against the Machine, so it’s hard to me to fully wrap my head [around] this thought process and its implications.”
While the official banishment note to Tyler was not released, The Quietus did receive a comment from a Home Office spokesperson appearing to confirm the rapper’s allegations. “Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values,” the spokesperson said. “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds.”
As Clancy also noted, Tyler has made over 20 trips to the U.K. in the last five years for concerts, in-stores and meet and greets, all without incident. He also admitted that while Tyler’s old lyrics can make him cringe, being banned for them is “a broader issue of free speech, with new lines being drawn that include reaching back in time without acknowledging growth. In fact, punishing growth… Is he not worthy of the pat on the back for becoming aware and making changes? What message does that send? Is race a conscious or subconscious factor at all?”
The U.K. ban comes on the heels of Tyler’s canceled Australian tour, which was protested by feminist group Collective Shout (who also campaigned against his 2013 trek). Tyler incorrectly claimed on Twitter that the group had gotten him banned from the country — igniting a wave of online vitriol and misogyny against Collective Shout director of operations, Coralie Alison — but CNN reported that, at the time, his visa was still being inspected.
Last summer, Tyler and Odd Future were banned from entering New Zealand to play Eminem’s Rapture Festival in Auckland. Immigration officials cited a 2011 incident in Boston where OF members reportedly urged fans to attack police officials; they “deemed [the group] to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest.” In 2011, Odd Future was also dropped from the Big Day Out festival after the Auckland City Council said the group’s lyrics were misogynistic and homophobic.