OutRage! writes to EMI and Virgin Records
London, 16 August 2004 - EMI and Virgin Records are being condemned for signing and promoting Jamaican reggae star, Beenie Man, following his call for the "execution" of gay people.
The condemnation comes the day EMI / Virgin Records releases Beenie Man's new album, Back to Basics (today, 16 August 2004).Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group OutRage!, has written to the President of Virgin Records and the Chief Executive of parent company EMI, Tony Wadsworth
(a full copy of the letter follows below).
He points out that four of Beenie Man's past songs urge listeners to "shoot" and "hang" people he abuses as "queers", "faggots" and
"bum-fuckers" (see lyric samples below).
Mr Tatchellís letters to EMI and Virgin state:
"Despite his so-called apology, these incitement to murder songs are still selling and Beenie Man is still profiteering from his murder music."
"Inciting murder is a criminal offence: Free speech does not include the right to encourage the criminal act of murder."
The OutRage! letter calls on Virgin Records to "either cancel Beenie Man's contract or agree to:
1) Arrange the public broadcast of a video and audio statement by Beenie Man apologising explicitly to the lesbian and gay community for
inciting homophobic violence, and
2) Either buy up the rights and existing copies of his songs inciting homophobic murder, or donate all royalties from these songs to a
charity that helps the victims of queer-bashing violence".
Further information: Peter Tatchell, OutRage! - 020 7403 1790
-----------OutRage! letter to EMI / Virgin
43 Brook Green
London W6 8EF
16 August 2004
Dear Tony Wadsworth,Beenie Man's incitement to murder lesbians and gay men
Today EMI's subsidiary company, Virgin Records, launches Beenie Man's new album, Back to Basics. You may be celebrating; we are not.
The lesbian and gay human rights group OutRage! is appalled that EMI/Virgin Records is promoting a singer who continues to advocate the "execution" of homosexual men and women through the on-going sale of
four particularly violent, murderous songs (see songs and lyrics below).
Beenie Man wants all queers dead. Four of his songs variously urge listeners to "shoot" and "hang" people he abuses as "queers",
"faggots" and "bum-fuckers".
Despite his so-called "apology", these incitement to murder songs are still selling and Beenie Man is still profiteering from his murder music.
Inciting murder is a criminal offence. There is no right to incite the murder of other human beings.
We are not objecting to mere homophobia. Our objections are to Beenie Man's specific encouragements to kill lesbians and gay men.
Inciting violence against any human being for any reason is totally unacceptable.
Free speech does not include the right to encourage the criminal act of murder.
Beenie Man does more than express his disapproval of homosexuality. He calls for all homosexuals to be killed and incites his listeners to go out and murder gays and lesbians. This goes way beyond an acceptable expression of opinion. Lesbian and gay people have a right to live their lives free from threats to "execute" them.
We wish to ask you this question:Would EMI/Virgin Records sign a neo-Nazi singer who had advocated gassing Jews or lynching black people?
Of course not. Why, then, are you signing and promoting a singer who incites and glorifies the murder of homosexuals?
Your contract with Beenie Man, which predated his recent so-called "apology", colludes with his violent homophobia. It is unworthy of a responsible company.
Just as we are sure you would not reward a singer who glorified the killing of black or Jewish people, we ask you show the same 'zero tolerance' of singers like Beenie Man who incite homophobic violence and murder.
Take the example of a singer with neo-Nazi sympathies, who had previously released a song calling for the extermination of Jews.
Would you give them a contract if they promised not to sing their anti-Semitic diatribes? We think not. You would wisely and responsibly take the view that having expressed such bigoted, murderous views the
singer was beyond the pale and should not be signed to EMI/Virgin - even if they promised to never repeat such sentiments.With regard to Beenie Man's supposed apology:
We note the statement issued by Virgin Records on behalf of Beenie Man. This "apology" is so vague it could be about anything. It does not say what he is apologising for or who he is apologising to.
Moreover, it is being disavowed by Beenie Man's representatives in Jamaica. They say he did not approve the words and has not
specifically apologised for inciting homophobic violence.
Moreover, since his supposed "apology", Beenie Man has attempted to continue singing homophobic songs that abuse and threaten gays and lesbians.
According the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, the management at the Electric Factory, Philadelphia, USA, where he performed on 6 August 2004, forced him to remove two homophobic songs from his set. His apparent intention to perform these songs shows that Beenie Man's "apology" is next to worthless.
Beenie Man's "apology" cannot be accepted as sincere and genuine because only two weeks before he made it he was interviewed by Associated Press. In this interview, published on 19 July 2004, he explicitly defended his murderous lyrics, saying that homophobic sentiments are part of Caribbean culture. The idea that two weeks later he had a genuine and sincere change of heart is not at all credible. His "apology" is just an opportunistic attempt to save his career in the face of mounting worldwide protests.
After consultation with gay Jamaican activists both in the UK and in Jamaica, and with other human rights organizations involved in the
campaign, OutRage! cannot accept a broad generic "apology" by Beenie Man. It neither addresses, nor seeks to neutralise, the harm caused to the lesbian and gay community by lyrics that incite anti-gay violence and murder.We are told by the Jamaican gay rights group, J-Flag, that incitements to murder homosexuals, made by Beenie Man and other dancehall artists, help sustain the violent homophobic attitudes that lead to actual
violent assaults - and even murders - of lesbians and gay men in Jamaica.
This report from The Daily Gleaner (24 April 2000) is just one of countless examples of the horrors faced by lesbian and gay Jamaicans
Among the victims was a man cornered in a Baptist church hall on Mountain View Avenue, Kingston at about 3:30 Saturday afternoon and
shot dead as he begged for his life. Sources say his killer jeered him before pumping several bullets into his body. The man, who was still unidentified up to yesterday, was accused of being a homosexual. The
police said they found his body lying in blood with several 9mm cartridge cases and bullet fragments at the death scene.OutRage! would be glad to facilitate a meeting between EMI/Virgin Records and gay Jamaican refugees who have fled to the UK
so that you may hear first-hand their testimony of horrendous hate crimes which, they say, are fuelled by murderous song lyrics likes those of Beenie Man.
Gay Jamaicans who have sought asylum in the UK tell us of their distress at having their musical tormentors follow them from Jamaica
to the concert halls and airwaves of Britain.
Singers who incite the murder of gay people (or anyone else) should be shunned, not rewarded. Giving any kind of platform to Beenie Man means EMI/Virgin Records is colluding with a performer who - at least as
recently as 19 July - wanted to kill all queers.We therefore urge EMI/Virgin Records to either cancel Beenie Man's contract or agree to the following two requests:
(1) Arrange the public broadcast of a video and audio statement by Beenie Man apologising explicitly to the lesbian and gay community for inciting homophobic violence, and
(2) Either buy up the rights and existing copies of his songs inciting homophobic murder, or donate all royalties from these songs to a
charity that helps the victims of queer-bashing violence.
On the agreement of EMI/Virgin Records and Beenie Man to the above two requests, we will call off the international campaign to secure the cancellation of his concerts, sponsorship deals, TV appearances and the radio air-play of his songs.
If Beenie Man wants to secure international superstar status, then agreement to these two conditions is, we believe, a reasonable
Please confirm receipt of this letter, and advise us of your decision.
Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Lock 0770 843 5917 - email@example.com
On behalf of OutRage! ñ the campaign for LGBT human rights
Beenie Man - Han Up Deh
Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope
Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope
Beenie Man - Damn
I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays
I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays
Beenie Man - Batty Man Fi Dead (Queers Must Be killed)
All batty man fi dead!
All faggots must be killed!
From you fuck batty den a coppa and lead
If you fuck arse, then you get copper and lead [bullets]
Nuh man nuh fi have a another man in a him bed.
No man must have another man in his bed
Beenie Man - Roll Deep
Roll deep motherfucka, kill pussy-sucker
Roll deep motherfucker, kill pussy-sucker
Pussy-sucker:a lesbian, or anyone who performs cunnilingus.
Tek a Bazooka and kill batty-fucker
Take a bazooka and kill bum-fuckers [gay men]