Big Day Out under fire over homophobic band
MELBOURNE: A Victorian gay rights group is calling for a boycott of a US band’s Melbourne appearance at the Big Day Out music festival.
The California based hip-hop band, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (usually abbreviated to OFWGKTA or Odd Future), pictured, have often been criticised by gay rights and women’s rights groups for their lyrics containing references to homophobia, rape, torture and murder.
In September Odd Future was announced as part of the line up for the Australian and New Zealand Big Day Out music festival.
Big Day Out is an annual Australia wide and New Zealand music event. The Melbourne concert takes place on January 29 at Flemington Racecourse.
The band’s scheduled appearance in New Zealand on January 20, however, has been cancelled following complaints over the band’s homophobic lyrics, in particular the word ‘faggot’.
Wellington resident Calum Bennachie wrote to Big Day Out organisers complaining the band’s lyrics “increase the societal discourse against LGBT people, a discourse that encourages bullying and violence”.
“If it is acceptable to say something similar to ‘gays are a cancer on society that deserves to be eliminated’, then what group would be next?” Bennachie said.
Bennachie also contacted the administrators of the Mt Smart Stadium, the venue for Big Day Out, asking them to intervene.
Big Day Out promoters are currently negotiating with Odd Future for them to appear at another venue in Auckland.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby convenor Sarah Rogan is urging Big Day Out to drop Odd Future from the rest of the tour.
“It’s the particular language they use,” Rogan told MCV. “For Big Day Out to book such a band is showing that it is OK to use hateful words and language that it is acceptable in society for derogatory and demeaning language to be used.”
“This is music that can, not necessarily always, encourage bullying and harassment. It can promote violence and that is what our concern is.
And for young people to look up to musical acts, they could think that because a group is saying that, it is all right for me to say that.
Rogan said she was also concerned that the group’s only female member, Sydney Bennett, is a lesbian but was defending the group’s use of derogatory language.
“If it’s in there it is obviously not just words and there is a deeper meaning behind it,” Rogan said.
Rogan has contacted one of the promoters of Big Day Out, Ken West, expressing her concerns.
West told MCV that “under no circumstances" would Odd Future be removed from any Australian Big Day Out events.
“The issue in New Zealand was specific and localised,” he said.
MCV was unable to ascertain if the Melbourne venue for Big Day Out has been contacted regarding the band’s appearance.
A spokesperson from the festival’s publicists said no venue is authorised to comment on behalf of the festival.