This is bizarre. Tyler, The Creator and his manager have announced that the Odd Future rapper has been forced to cancel shows in the UK by the Secretary of State. The government has reportedly banned Tyler from the country for "3-5 years", over lyrics from his records Bastard (2009) and Goblin (2011).
Tyler hasn’t had much luck on his travels – earlier this year he claimed to be banned from Australia after a feminist group called Collective Shout objected to his visit because of his "discriminatory ideas about women and other groups".
Christian Clancy, Tyler’s manager, wrote a lengthy post on his Tumblr expressing disbelief at the decision made by the UK government.
"This is a broader issue of free speech, with new lines being drawn that include reaching back in time without acknowledging growth," he says. "In fact, punishing growth. what I do know is Tyler is part of an argument that is counter to who he has become. How do you punish someone for growing up? Since the letter acknowledged he was writing from an alter ego perspective does this then apply to book writers? The fact that he has evolved into someone who has acknowledged and grown out of that is simply lost in the narrative. Is he not worthy of the pat on the back for becoming aware and making changes? What message does that send? Is race a conscious or subconscious factor at all"
Clancy’s response is measured and objective – he acknowledges that some of Tyler’s lyrics written as a kid may have been offensive or distasteful. "I’m not defending his old lyrics. To be honest they make me cringe, but I stand beside him because of who he actually is."
According to the rapper and his manager, Tyler visited the UK just last month and rented out a cinema to show a private screening of Napoleon Dynamite. Why did the lyrics on Bastard not matter then? What’s changed?
UPDATE: The Home Office has issued a statement. "Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values. The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds."