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Tyler, the Creator denied entry into Britain after ‘unacceptable behaviours’

Tyler, the Creator performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2015. The Los Angeles rapper has been denied entry into the United Kingdom.

Tyler, the Creator performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2015. The Los Angeles rapper has been denied entry into the United Kingdom.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles rapper Tyler, the Creator was denied entry into Britain last week while traveling to perform at a series of music festivals.

The founder of the Odd Future collective was detained and questioned at the border before being turned away for violating the nation’s policy on “behaviours unacceptable in the U.K.”

The rapper rose to fame through lyrical incitements that have drawn criticism as being misogynist and homophobic, and according to a report and interview in the Guardian, the border officials had been doing their homework. While being questioned, officers gave Tyler papers that cited lyrics from specific songs, including “Blow” and “Tron Cat.”

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Among other claims listed as reasons for his denial, according to the Guardian: “Your albums ‘Bastard,’ in 2009, and ‘Goblin,’ in 2011, are based on the premise of your adopting a mentally unstable alter ego who describes violent physical abuse, rape and murder in graphic terms which appears to glamourise this behaviour.”

The confusing part? The multitalented rapper-producer-actor-director has visited the country many times since those early songs were released — including earlier this year — and has never had an issue. Plus, the reasons cited defy logic, he said.

“The thing that irks me about it is that the paper saying I am denied entry to the U.K. clearly states that these songs were written from [the perspective of] an alter ego — which means they obviously did some research on these songs that they’re detaining me for,” Tyler told the Guardian. “So the argument is right there! This song is written from an alter ego — I’m not like this! You could watch any interview and see my personality, see the guy I am. I wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Tyler’s longtime manager, Christian Clancy, was equally baffled. In a post on his personal website, Clancy wrote: “to say that i am confused would be an understatement. can you imagine being beholden to things you said when you were 18? tyler has been to the UK over 20x in the last 5 years without incident (shows, in stores, meet and greets). we rented out a movie theatre last month in London for a private showing of napoleon dynamite for his fans. literally last month.”

Added Clancy: “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.”

The ban isn’t Tyler’s first run-in with border officials. Last year, he was barred entry into New Zealand for similar reasons and faced enough protest for a planned 2015 Australian tour that the rapper ended up canceling it. Tyler told the Guardian that he believes the British ban was a response to those earlier actions, and that it will have a chilling effect on controversial artists hoping to perform in the country.

“What about the people who will make music in the next five years,” he asked. “Are they gonna get banned? Why don’t they ban authors? Writers who write these mystery books about people getting raped and sabotaged and murdered and brainwashed — why don’t they ban them?”

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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