France axes concerts by homophobic Jamaican reggae singer

Ross von Metzke | June 20, 2005

PARIS — Following a string of protests by gay rights group InterPride France, a series of concerts by Jamaican reggae singer Capleton have been cancelled due to his homophobic lyrics. Six music venues throughout the country axed scheduled performances in response to the complaints, but others are still going ahead.

Other gay rights groups stopped short of calling for an outright ban, saying that such a step might do more harm than good. Actions Gay LGBT association, based in the north-west France, said an outright ban would �just increase the level of hate.�

But the group added it was seeking written assurances from the singer that he will not use homophobic lyrics – they are seeking to have performances halted if he does. France has strict laws banning public hate speech and defamation.

Capleton still has several concert dates scheduled in France during June, including one in Paris on June 26. The director of the venue where Capleton is performing told the BBC Online, �my responsibility is to react if an artist makes illegal comments on stage. At the same time, I am bothered by the idea of judging and condemning someone before the act.�

But Colling did confirm the concert would be cancelled if Capleton refused to sign a document pledging not to use defamatory speech during his performance. Capleton was one of eight reggae singers whose record labels and promoters struck a verbal deal with the UK-based the Stop Murder Music coalition earlier this year.

They pledged not to release or re-release any offensive songs and make stars agree not to perform such tunes on stage. However, the artists themselves were not involved in the negotiations and have not directly signed up – Gay Link Content

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