The American performance artist and rapper Mykki Blanco was arrested in Portugal earlier this week. The reason? According to Blanco, it was simply for "being gay". The acclaimed NYC–based extrovert revealed the incident occurred as he was en route from the airport to his gallery residency in Lisbon, where he was due to perform.
According to Blanco, the altercation started because a police officer repeatedly refused to help him in the line for the airport taxi. He described what happened in a Facebook comment and later gave a similar statement to Noisey:
"I ask the officer, 'Excuse me why won't wouldn't you help me?' and he says 'Go away'. I said, 'It's your job to help people yet you refuse to help me'. He says, 'I said go away bicha' (a gay slur), so I said 'fuck you' and he arrested me. The world ain't a fair place, and the idea of a young successful black guy doesn't always fly everywhere but I was insulted, and discriminated against so I said 'fuck you' and walked away... Well, he followed me inside, used his radio to call other police, causing a scene in the airport and told me, 'You are under arrest'. I said, 'Excuse me, I have not committed a crime, I asked you for help and you refused to help me'. He said, 'You have insulted a police officer and that is a crime in Portugal, you can't talk to me that way' and he arrested me."
At the police station, Blanco began posting images of his prison cell along with the tag #FUCKPIGS:
Since being released from police custody, Blanco has come under fire from Portuguese commenters on his Facebook page. He claims that the online attacks have included hate speech and a threat to "lynch" him.
"I'M OVER PEOPLE DEFENDING PORTUGAL BECAUSE OF FALSE NATIONAL PRIDE," he wrote. "GUESS WHAT? YOUR COUNTRY IS JUST AS FUCKED UP AS ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. DEAL WITH IT."
"I’m leaving Portugal after my performance," Blanco wrote in his final Facebook post. "Please stop writing hate speech, threatening to hang me, posting pictures of slaves and leaving gay hate messages on my page, I have seen a really disturbing side of this culture tonight.”
Good luck to you, Mykki – we salute you.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot