Declaring they pose a potential threat to national public order, the government of New Zealand has denied issuing visas and effectively barred Los Angeles rap collective Odd Future from coming into the country, jeopardising the group's supposed participation in the Rapture event at Western Springs in Auckland on Saturday night.
Odd Future was banned by virtue of a section of NZ law which states that authorities are allowed to deny entry to persons or groups where there is reason to believe there is, or is likely to be, a threat or risk to public national order or interest. It was the very first time the clause was used against a group of musicians.
"This is the first time this has ever been applied to a group of musicians," Immigration NZ Border Operations Manager Karen Urwin said. "We have historically used this same section to refuse entry to, the sort of people would be Right-wing extremist groups, sort of Ku Klux Klan."
"It's disappointing because it's coming from a place where the reasoning is based on lyrics and/or actions that happened when these guys were teenagers," Christian Clancy, the group's manager, said. "And if that's a stance someone's going to take, then what are you implying? That you don't allow talented kids to grow and change?"
The group is highly implicated in a 2011 incident in Boston where some witnesses alleged Odd Future's members encouraged and provoked fans and followers to attack the police officers.
"They said we were 'terrorist threats and bad for the society' or whatever. Sick," Tyler, The Creator, vented Thursday on Twitter. "I love NZ tho."
The irony of it all, he pointed out, was songs of other rappers also contain explicit and violent lyrics.
"The irony is that, we can't get in to open for Eminem. Hahahaha, like he didn't make 'Kill You' or 'Kim' Hahahahahahah," Tyler tweeted.
Immigration NZ clarified the ban was imposed on Odd Future as a group. If members to travel to NZ as individuals, they would be welcome, Ms Urwin told Radio New Zealand.
Organisers of the event have yet to announce a replacement for Odd Future.
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