Tyler, the Creator Treated ‘Like a Criminal’ and ‘Terrorist’ Due to U.K. Ban
"Monday was one of the s---tiest days I’ve ever had," the Odd Future leader tells The Guardian. "I was in a detention room; I felt like a criminal."
When the rapper flew to the U.K. for a series of festival appearances including sets at the Reading and Leeds Festivals over the weekend, he was detained, turned away from the border and informed that he is banned from entering the country for three to five years.
"BASED ON LYRICS FROM 2009 I AM NOT ALLOWED IN THE UK FOR 3-5 YEARS ( although i was there 8 weeks ago) THAT IS WHY THE SHOWS WERE CANCELLED," Tyler tweeted.
While he was detained at border control, a Border Force officer issued him a letter that explained why he's being banned. Lyrics from his Bastard LP and his track, "Tron Cat," were included. According to the document, issued by U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May, Tyler has been "excluded from the UK on the grounds that your presence here would not be conducive to the public good. The home secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviour by making statements that may foster hatred, which might lead to intercommunity violence in the UK.”
“Your albums Bastard, in 2009, and Goblin, in 2011, are based on the premise of your adopting a mentally unstable alter ego who describes violent physical abuse, rape and murder in graphic terms which appears to glamourise this behaviour," the letter read.
While Tyler accepts the nature of those songs, he claims they were written when he was younger. He used an alter ego and was still finding himself.
"Now I’m getting treated like a terrorist. 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]. Like, I wrote Blow when I was reading about different people in American history. One of the people happened to be [the serial killer] Ted Bundy, and I wrote a song from his point of view," he told the newspaper.
He also added, "The thing that irks me about it is that the paper saying I am denied entry to the U.K. clearly states that these songs were written from [the perspective of] an alter ego -- which means they obviously did some research on these songs that they’re detaining me for. So the argument is right there! This song is written from an alter ego -- I’m not like this! You could watch any interview and see my personality, see the guy I am. I wouldn’t hurt a fly."
This isn't the first time Tyler had issues with performing in another country. The California native had to cancel his Australian tour earlier this year because a feminist group launched a campaign to deny his visa to enter the country. A similar protest happened when Tyler was booked to perform at Glastonbury in 2013.
Tyler feels blindsided by the U.K. government and thinks the politicians are only following what transpired in Australia. According to him, this will just open the doors to more artists being turned away.
"This is only gonna open a door for other people to get banned," he says. "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. It’s like the world is scared of everything. I feel like everyone is so sensitive to everything, and if they don’t like something it’s like: “Oh my God, I don’t like the colour yellow -- let’s get yellow banned from every country, let’s sign a petition – let’s start a hashtag to make sure this colour is never seen, because I don’t like it and I don’t understand it.”
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