Odd Future removed from New Zealand festival bill over ‘homophobic’ lyrics

Big Day Out's show in New Zealand will not feature the rappers

Promoters of the travelling Big Day Out festival have been forced to remove Odd Future from the festival’s Auckland bill after complaints were made about the rap group’s homophobic lyrics.

The rap collective will still play all the Australian dates on the travelling festival, but will not appear at the Auckland leg after a local activist Calum Bennachie complained to Auckland City Council about the group’s lyrics, reports New Zealand Herald.

Auckland City Council owns Big Day Out venue Mt Smart Stadium and as a result told the organizers to remove the band from the bill or face licensing issues.

Bennachie, who laid out his concerns in a letter to Big Day Out‘s promoters, said of Odd Future: “Lyrics such as those played by Odd Future increase the societal discourse against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, a discourse that encourages bullying and violence”. If it is acceptable to say something similar to “gays are a cancer on society that deserves to be eliminated”, then what group would be next?”

He continued: “By allowing Odd Future to play at Big Day Out, you are proving that you have little concern for the lives and welfare of LGBT people, that you are willing to endanger their lives, and seek to encourage stigmatisation against them. I find this disappointing in an organisation that could do so much to enhance the self esteem of youth, reduce stigma, and discourage violence.”

Big Day Out promoter Ken West has said that he will be organizing a separate headline show for Odd Future to play in Auckland and confirmed that the removal does not affect the Australian leg of the festival.

He said: “We are currently in discussions with Odd Future and will be announcing their own solo show for Auckland in the coming weeks. This does not affect Australia.”

This is the second time in recent years that an act has been pulled from the Big Day Out bill over homophobic views. Rapper Beenie Man was pulled from the 2010 event after gay rights groups expressed outrage at his invitation.