Concert promoters LiveNation and AEG
Live have each canceled upcoming concerts by controversial Jamaican
reggae artist Buju Banton.
Live Nation announced late Thursday
that it canceled all of the scheduled concerts by Banton at
company-owned House of Blues locations, including Chicago,
Dallas, Las Vegas and Houston. Live Nation has been under fire by
gay rights groups for booking Banton, who is known for his violent
In Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network
had scheduled its 11th annual Matthew Shepherd Walk for LGBT Freedom
to take place downtown Oct. 1, ending at the House of Blues
for a protest. The Matthew Shepherd Walk, which drew about 400 people
last year, has always taken place in Boystown.
"Live Nation has done the right
thing and canceled the hate monger," said Bob Schwartz of
Chicago's Gay Liberation Network. "These cancellations show the
power of protest to deliver the goods."
Schwartz had written Live Nation CEO
Michael Rapino to demand that Banton not be rewarded with bookings
for advocating the murder of lesbians and gay men. "We first
wrote Live Nation several years ago following their purchase of House
of Blues to alert them to the Jamaican Reggae 'Dancehall' singers
who advocated killing gays, and had thought we wouldn't have to go
down this road again. We hope they have finally gotten the message,"
In 2004, Banton was tried and acquitted
on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men. In his
native Jamaica, anti-gay violence is rife and typically tolerated by
the authorities. Gay sex is punishable by 10 years in prison.
After Jamaican gay activist Brian
Williamson was brutally murdered in 2004, a crowd was seen
celebrating the killing outside his apartment by shouting the chorus
of "Boom Bye Bye," a 1992 hit by Banton that proposes
pouring acid on gay men and shooting them in the head with an Uzi,
Passport Magazine reported.
Banton's appearance has previously
drawn controversy in Chicago. A September 2006 concert at the House
of Blues and a July 2007 appearance at the International Festival
of Life in Washington Park both drew loud protests from local gay
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