Jamaican star Capleton’s Basel concert cancelled after Swiss gay groups protest

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A reggae star who has gone back on a promise not to perform songs encouraging violence against lesbian and gay people has had a concert in Switzerland cancelled.

The performance by Capleton in Basel was due to take place on November 6th but was pulled by the organisers, according to local LGBT rights group Homosexuelle Arbeitsgruppen Basel (HABS).

HABS, together with Stop Murder Music Bern, opposed the concert because Capleton has performed songs encouraging violence against lesbian and gay people, in violation of his commitment to abide by the terms of the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA).

He signed the agreement in early 2007 and undertook to not perform “murder music” songs any more.

Stop Murder Music Bern was able to prove that after he signed the RCA Capleton has performed songs that incite homophobic violence, including during last year’s Christmas Extravaganza concert in Jamaica.

“The Stop Murder Music campaign gave Capleton a chance to continue his career unimpeded if he agreed to stop inciting the murder of lesbian and gay people,” said Peter Tatchell, gay rights activist and UK coordinator of the Stop Murder Music campaign.

“He signed the RCA and promised to abide by it. But he has carried on as before, stirring up homophobic hatred and violence. We feel tricked, betrayed and cheated.

“Congratulations to the Swiss campaigners for getting his concert pulled. Performers who promote the killing of other human beings should not be rewarded with concerts, money and stardom.

“This is the latest of scores of concert cancellations secured by our SMM activists around the world.

“We have targeted eight Jamaican dancehall singers whose lyrics glorify, encourage and promote the murder of lesbian and gay people.

“Their incitements are a criminal offence. Our aim is to show these artists that homophobia doesn’t pay. It has a damaging financial consequence,” added Mr Tatchell.

In July 2007 artists Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton, who had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, signed up to the Reggae Compassion Act, in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.

The Act reads:

“It must be clear there’s no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia.

“We do not encourage nor minister to HATE but rather uphold a philosophy of LOVE, RESPECT and UNDERSTANDING towards all human beings as the cornerstone of reggae.

“We agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community.”

However, in October 2007 planned Sizzla concerts in Toronto were banned.  All five dates of the star’s 2004 UK tour were cancelled after gay rights activists protested against his presence.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Sizzla was denied a Schengen visa for a proposed European tour.

The German Foreign Office phoned the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany to confirm the ban and to confirm that their embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, confirmed that the singer has songs in his repertoire that meet the legal criterion of “incitement of the people.”

The Schengen Agreement between 29 nations on the continent of Europe allows free movement across their borders.

A common Schengen visa allows tourists access to all the countries party to the agreement.