13 Feb 2014

Rappers banned from entering NZ

11:04 pm on 13 February 2014

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed it has banned a rap collective from entering the country on the grounds they have previously incited violence and are a potential threat to public order.

Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt performs at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last year.

Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt performs at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas last year. Photo: AFP

Odd Future was to play at Rapture 2014 at Western Springs in Auckland, a concert in which Eminem is the headline act.

Immigration New Zealand said it didn't ban them because of their sexually violent lyrics, but because they have incited violence during performances.

Border operations manager Karen Urwin told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday it is because of incidents like one a couple of years ago in Boston that the rappers aren't welcome.

"A group of Odd Future's fans got a little bit out of control and when the police moved in to try and contain it, the group itself moved onto the roof of the building and started inciting their fans to attack the police, which they then did, and one police officer was actually hospitalised."

Ms Urwin said there was also an incident in Australia in which the rappers used a concert and Twitter to urge fans to harass a woman who objected to their act.

"Unfortunately, the lead singer using his Twitter account and through some of the things he said on stage encouraged his fans to basically harass and stalk this woman. She received a lot of threats to her personal safety and, again, it's not really behaviour we want to see here in New Zealand."

The Auckland Council on Wednesday said it was negotiating with organisers to modify its performance because of lyrics referring to raping and murdering women.

The Stop Demand Foundation had earlier demanded that the group be pulled from the concert and had sought help from the council. Founder Denise Ritchie told Checkpoint she is delighted the group has been banned.

Odd Future's lead rapper Tyler the Creator has tweeted that the band has been banned from New Zealand because they were viewed as a terrorist threat.

Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg has tweeted that it's an unfortunate decision by Immigration New Zealand to withdraw Odd Future's travel visas while they were on their way to the airport.

Mr Rosenberg said he did not support any decision by government agencies resulting in suppression of any form of artistic expression.