13 Nov 2009

No plans to pull controversial singer from Big Day Out

10:01 am on 13 November 2009

The promoter of the Big Day Out music festival in Auckland says there are no plans to pull a controversial Jamaican musician from the line-up.

Protesters say they will disrupt the performance of Beenie Man, who has in the past performed homophobic songs which include lyrics inciting violence towards gay men and women.

In a song penned in 1999 Beenie Man wrote about executing gay men, while other songs have incited listeners to kill homosexual DJs and hang lesbians.

Green Party MP and gay rights activist Kevin Hague says the Big Day Out should drop the dancehall artist.

"This kind of hate speech is not innocuous, not harmless. It actually causes direct harm to gay men and lesbians and for young people, in particular, it gives permission ... for the kind of homophobic abuse and violence that young people are subjected to."

New Zealand promoter Campbell Smith says he was not aware of the controversy until this week.

Mr Smith says the Australian promoters signed Beenie Man on the understanding that he had signed an agreement in 2007 pledging not to perform homophobic songs.

Mr Smith says the Big Day Out is trying to contact the singer to make sure he does not perform offensive material at Mt Smart Stadium on 15 January, but at this stage there are no plans cancel him from the event.