Gay rights groups fume over Sizzla’s Oslo gig

Gay rights groups fume over Sizzla's Oslo gig
Photo: Avarty Photos (File)
Norwegian gay rights groups are planning to gather outside an Oslo concert venue on Thursday night to take a stand against Sizzla, a reggae star notorious for his anti-gay lyrics.

The Jamaican artist was originally scheduled to play at Rockefeller, one of the city’s most illustrious venues. But earlier this week Rockefeller said he was no longer welcome after it learned he had recently breached the Reggae Compassionate Act, an agreement he signed pledging not to discriminate on sexual grounds.

Instead, the concert will take place at the Rhythm Club, where organizers have vowed to pull the plug on the singer if he reneges on a promise not to rail against gays.

Meanwhile, gay rights groups LLH and Skeiv Ungdom (SkU) are planning to meet outside the club an hour before Sizzla takes to the stage.

“We hope to see as many people as possible outside the concert venue at 9pm for a controlled gathering to show that we distance ourselves from artists like Sizzla and the decision to book artists who incite violence and murder,” said SkU leader Åshild Marie Vige and the head of LLH Oslo, Hans Heen Sikkeland, in a joint statement posted on Facebook.

On Wednesday, the 35-year-old Sizzla saw a planned concert in Stockholm cancelled at the last minute as promoters gave in to vocal criticism from Sweden’s gay community.

"Last Sunday, the 18th of March, at a concert in Kingston, Jamaica, Sizzla called for homosexuals to be murdered," said Ulrika Westerlund, spokeswoman for Swedish gay rights group RFSL.

"It should go without saying that gigs should not be booked for this man," she said in a statement.

Critics have branded Sizzla’s lyrics as being hateful towards the gay community, with the killing and burning of homosexuals a recurring theme in several of his songs.

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