Last week Tyler, the Creator had a string of gigs to perform at including a slot at Reading and Leeds Festival but had to cancel last minute due to home secretary Theresa May denying the rapper a visa for entry. This comes after Tyler had been forced to cancel his September tour in Australia due to feminist protest group, Collective Shout, leading a campaign to persuade their Government not to allow him entry into the country as some of his lyrics promoted violence against women.
In an interview with The Guardian, Tyler said “I was in a detention room; I felt like a criminal. A Border Force officer showed me lyrics from songs, a paper with five lines of lyrics, four were from “Bastard songs” and one was from “Tron Cat”. I never perform those songs. Then (The Border Force Officer) he gives me a paper, and he says: “OK, they’re not letting you in the country.” The paper said I couldn’t come at all, saying that I support homophobia and acts of terrorism, and some other stuff. I’m just like, one, none of that is true, and two, I was here seven weeks ago. I rented out a movie theatre for a show. I did something really awesome, and it was no problem“.
He continued “I’m bummed out because it’s like, dude, I’m not homophobic. I’ve said this since the beginning. The hating women thing, it’s so nuts. It’s based on things I made when I was super-young, when no one was listening to my music. When the Australia thing happened, I was like, Wow, OK. Then the UK thing happened, and it’s like, OK, this is not funny any more, this is actually wrong, from a moral standpoint. Now (threats against) freedom of art and speech are at hand. And because of this, it’s opening a door for anyone to be banned“.
When asked if the UK ban was related to the boycott in Australia, Tyler said “They’re following! They’re just followers at this point, to me, at least. Personally. I don’t know. It all came out of nowhere; I was in London in May, dude. Two months later they’re like: “Hey, uh, yeah, we reviewed music from a long time ago out of nowhere, you can’t come in.” What? This is only gonna open a door for other people to get banned. And then they’re gonna go after video games, and then they’re gonna go after movies, and we’re gonna live in such a sensitive world“.