Erykah Badu may have been banned from performing in Malaysia due to an album cover, which depicts the word ‘allah’ written on her skin, but she’s in good company. She’s not the only artist to have been denied access to a country due to indiscretions. Here are 10 more.
Up until 2006, the first three albums from death metal group Cannibal Corpse were banned from sale in Germany. Not only that, but the Buffalo, NY group were also banned from playing any tracks from those first three records in Germany. The albums were banned on the basis of their violent and disturbingly graphic lyrics. Sales of the group’s music continue to be restricted in Australia, and sold under an age rating system. Yet they sound so inoffensive…
Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus was ignobly banned from China in 2009 after posing with an Asian friend and making her eyes look slanted. The government also banned any broadcast of her TV show, films or sales of her merchandise. Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi stated: “Miss Cyrus has made it clear she is no friend of China or anyone of East Asian descent. We have no interest in further polluting our children’s minds with her American ignorance.”
More credibly, Bjork was also discouraged from returning to China after she showed her support for the Tibetan state during a 2008 concert in Shanghai. She dedicated her performance of ‘Declare Independence’ to the Tibetans. It didn’t go down well.
A site-specific one next. Shock rocker Marilyn Manson was banned from the state of Utah in 1994. During a concert in the State’s capital- Salt Lake City- the singer ripped up the Mormon holy text- the Book of Mormon- on stage. The state of Utah is approximately 60% Mormon, meaning Manson’s move was overwhelmingly offensive. However, when he returned in 2009, he went a step further and burnt a copy of the text on stage.
Silly old Bez from the Happy Mondays was also refused a visa in 2007, thanks to a previous drug conviction.
The clean-living stalwart Snoop Dogg was banned from the UK between 2007-2010 thanks to numerous firearms and drugs offenses. This was in addition to being banned for life by British Airways due to a fight with staff when a member of Snoop’s entourage wasn’t allowed into the first class lounge at Heathrow airport in 2006.
More recently, Chris Brown was forced to cancel his UK mini-tour and Britain’s Got Talent performance in 2010, when the UK denied him a visa. He was considered a ‘safety threat’ due to his violent attack on Rihanna in 2009.
The Beatles were banned from the Phillipines due to their refusal to visit the presidential palace in July 1966. The dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were disgusted by the snub, and the fab four were chased to the airport by angry Marcos-supporters. They were then made to pay back their show earnings to be able to leave the country without being arrested. They didn’t return.
The Kiwis denied dancehall artist Beenie Man access in 2009, because of his homophobic lyrics. Beenie was due to play at the Big Day out in Auckland, but due to pressure from Gay rights groups, he was banned from the show.
The Clash tried many times to schedule gigs in communist East Germany, but never managed to get in. Once the wall came down, Joe Strummer claimed that he had found secret Stasi police files that stated they their music and lyrics were too ‘inflammator’. Whatever that means.