Hip-hop group barred from New Zealand festival for ‘homophobic’ lyrics

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Organisers of New Zealand’s Big Day Out festival have been forced to remove Odd Future from the festival’s Auckland bill after complaints were made about homophobia in their lyrics.

Calum Bennachie complained to Auckland City Council, who own the venue where the festival takes place, about the US act’s inclusion at Big Day Out, and the rap collective was removed from the bill.

In 2009 the festival had to revoke its invitation to homophobic reggae artist Beenie Man.

They said then: “Notwithstanding claims of a commitment to the Reggae Compassionate Act which he signed in 2007 and a promise of adherence to peaceful and humanistic values for the dates here by Beenie Man, the depth of feeling and hurt amongst these groups has convinced us that for us to proceed with his Big Day Out appearances was, and would continue to be, divisive amongst our audience members and would mar the enjoyment of the event for many.

“For this reason we have decided not to proceed.”

Odd Future is properly known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, and was set to appear at the festival in the Mt Smart Stadium.

Local resident Bennachie told the festival promoters: “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 added: “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”.

However, Big Day Out promoter Ken West said in a statement that he was negotiating a separate sideshow in Auckland for the group.

“We are currently in discussions with Odd Future and will be announcing their own solo show for Auckland in the coming weeks.”