Foals on Tyler, The Creator’s UK ban: ‘It just highlights how stupid the government is’

Band talk to NME about the Odd Future rapper's ousting from the UK

Foals have branded the decision to ban Tyler, The Creator from the UK “stupid” after learning that he was prevented from playing this year’s Reading And Leeds Festival.

Speaking to NME in a video interview you can watch above, frontman Yannis Phillippakis hit out at the government for banning the Odd Future rapper for three to five years.

“I don’t think it’s [his ban] a threat to free speech,” he said. “I just think it shows how stupid the bureaucracy at government level is. He’s a rapper – the lyrics they’re banning him for are from six years ago and are no more offensive than the lyrics of a lot of other rappers who are freely allowed to come to the UK. So I wouldn’t take it so seriously. It just highlights the absurdity of certain decisions made at that level… he’ll be back, so who cares?”


Earlier this week, Tyler explained that he has been banned from entering the UK because of “lyrics from 2009.” Clearly surprised by the decision, he then tweeted ‘*listens to last three releases in confusion*’

Read the tweets below:

Tyler’s manager Christian Clancy posted a more detailed explanation behind the ban in a lengthy Tumblr essay.


“Tyler has been banned from entering the UK for somewhere between 3 to 5 years per a letter from the secretary of state for the home department of the united kingdom,” Clancy wrote.

“The letter specifically cites lyrics he wrote 6-7 years ago for his albums bastard and goblin – the type of lyrics he hasn’t written since… highlights from the letter include that his work ‘encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality’ and ‘fosters hatred with views thats seek to provoke others to terrorist acts..’

“To say that i am confused would be an understatement. can you imagine being beholden to things you said when you were 18? tyler has been to the UK over 20x in the last 5 years without incident,” he continues, referencing a show in the capital “literally last month.

“im not defending his OLD lyrics. to be honest they make me cringe, but i stand beside him because of who he actually IS.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office refused to address the specific case but issued the following statement, in which the reasons a person can be banned from entering the UK are explained.

“Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values. 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.”

Earlier today, Foals played a secret set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage in Reading which saw the band play tracks from their new album ‘What Went Down’, alongside fan favourites ‘My Number’, ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Spanish Sahara’.

Read the NME review.