Eminem banned from Hyde Park gig due to ‘offensive’ and ‘unsuitable’ lyrics

Freedom Of Information request reveals Royal Parks vetoed promoter's agreement with rapper

Eminem was banned from playing a day festival in Hyde Park due to his lyrics being deemed “offensive” and “unsuitable”.

The rapper had agreed terms with Barclaycard British Summer Time promoters AEG, but a Freedom Of Information request by The Daily Mirror shows the agreement was vetoed by Royal Parks, the body that runs Hyde Park, because they feared his lyrics could upset other park users.

In an email, Royal Parks CEO Linda Lennon said: “This artist flagged risks across the board. In particular in respect of our public reputation. The nature of any act with potential for lyrics to be deemed offensive and/or unsuitable language being audible within the park as a whole, let alone the surrounding residential areas, is unacceptable.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson was reportedly asked to overturn the decision, but his office admitted they had no idea who the rapper was and refused to get involved, saying it wasn’t their decision to make. Johnson’s chief of staff Sir Edward Lister said: “Until receipt of both emails I had no knowledge of Eminem and his style of music and still do not.”

The Daily Mirror went on to report AEG’s Jim King had responded to the initial ruling by saying: “I don’t want to split hairs but I do question how easy it is for any offensive lyrics to be heard and actually understood outside of our event site,” adding he was not “aware of any other case whereby he has been prevented from performing in the UK”.

Other artists playing Barclaycard BST include Black Sabbath, The Libertines, Neil Young, Arcade Fire and Jake Bugg. The festival begins on July 3. Eminem, meanwhile, will play at Wembley Stadium on July 11 and 12.

When conctacted by NME, a spokesperson for Eminem declined to comment, but speaking last month, Eminem himself said: “I heard that I wasn’t going to be approved to play in Hyde Park and it made me even more excited to play in London this summer. The easiest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t do it. Thanks to the Royal Parks for making it all possible… for Wembley.”