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Homer Coy Over Shady Lyrics

11:01 AM Friday 1/8/10 |   |

Wireless Festival booker Steve Homer is being a little coy when explaining if there’s any truth to a Daily Mail story that Eminem has agreed to drop his anti-gay lyrics in return for gay rights groups promising not to picket the British event.

“We are talking to Eminem about Wireless, that’s true and it is the weekend of Gay Pride as that’s the dates we have for Wireless in 2010,” the Live Nation promoter told Pollstar, turning down the chance to provide any further detail.

The Mail report cited “a festival insider” saying the organisers were worried gay rights groups protesting Eminem’s first major UK tour in nine years might disrupt the yearly multi-day festival.

When Eminem toured the UK in 2001, gay rights group OutRage! accused the rapper of using homophobic lyrics and protested outside venues while he was performing.

“There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and Eminem only agreed to sign up when assurances had been made that there would not be any protests,” the Mail’s source explained.

  • Eminem

    Performing at the Sound Board Theater located inside the MotorCity Casino, Hotel in Detroit.
    May 19, 2009

    (AP Photo)

    | 

If the story is true, it wouldn’t be the first time a festival promoter has made such an arrangement.

German promoter Klaus Maack, who promotes the annual Summerjam Festival in Cologne, says getting dancehall reggae acts to sign a paper saying they won’t sing homophobic lyrics has been a great success in Europe. But he feels gay rights groups worldwide need to make sure they keep their side of the bargain and stop protests at their shows.

He points out the planned protests outside the Reggae Carifest at New York’s Randall’s Island in 2007. Protests went on despite the fact that the city parks department got the performers – including Buju Banton and Bounty Killer – to sign a code of conduct agreeing to refrain from performing anti-gay lyrics.

In 2006 he side-stepped a showdown with German gay organisations by getting Elephant Man to sign a pledge saying he wouldn’t use lyrics provoking racial tension.

Maack and others promoting a similar genre of music worked with gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and his Stop Murder Music campaign to draw up The Compassionate Act. It commits the acts to “respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender.”

Eminem is known for controversial lyrics. His last U.K. tour was in 2001, although he made a few festival appearances in England and Scotland in 2003 and performed in a secret show at London’s O2 Academy Islington in 2004.

A planned 2005 tour of Europe and the U.K. was canceled after he entered a clinic to kick a dependency on sleeping pills.

This year’s Wireless Festival is in London’s Hyde Park July 2-4. So far, the only confirmed acts are Pink and The Ting Tings.

Click here to read the original Daily Mail article.


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