Los Angeles rappers Odd Future have been banned by New Zealand immigration authorities from entering the country after officials deemed the collective a “threat to public order and the public interest.” They were due to play an open-air concert with headline act Eminem on Saturday in Auckland.
The Associated Press reports, New Zealand immigration authorities withdrew Odd Future’s visas on Wednesday, an hour before the rappers’ flight was to leave for a scheduled concert as a part of the Rapture Festival tour in Auckland. They were acting as a last-minute substitution for Kendrick Lamar, who had withdrawn from the show because of a scheduling conflict.
Group member Tyler, The Creator vented his frustration on Twitter on Thursday. “They said we were ‘terrorist threats and bad for the society’ or whatever. Sick. They are anti golf,” he wrote. He later tweeted, “I love NZ tho.”
Although the group had performed in Auckland and Wellington earlier this month, and had been issued visas for a return trip, the immigration authorities made the decision to withdraw the visas on Wednesday. They cited the Immigration Act of 2009, which says that entry to the country may be denied to anyone who is, or is likely to be, a threat to public order.
The controversial hip-hop group, which is also known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, is known for its anarchic style and lyrics that canvas homophobia, killing and rape. Immigration authorities said the group’s lyrics weren’t the reason for the visa withdrawal but rather, Odd Future has been deemed a threat to public order because of incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence.
Such incidents include a 2011 autograph signing in Boston in which some witnesses claimed Odd Future members incited fans to attack police officers. Another incident involved abuse thrown at Australian activist Talitha Stone.
Stone, following a campaign she led to ban Tyler, The Creator from entering Australia, was subjected to hordes of abuse from angry fans, including threats of death and rape. Some of that even came from Tyler himself, first via twitter and then on stage at his Sydney show, where the rapper dedicated a song to Stone and hurled a tonnage of misogynistic slurs at her.
“Because the lead singer has got 1.7 million followers on Twitter,” Border Operations Manager Karen Urwin told 3News, “and because of the comments he made about her and the things he tweeted about her that poor woman was effectively harassed and threatened and we consider that kind of behaviour pretty serious.”
She said it was rare to ban musicians under rules that cover character concerns. “Generally,” she said, “it’s aimed at organisations like white supremacists and neo-Nazis, people who have come in here to be public speakers, Holocaust deniers — those kinds of people.”