Well, it looks like Action Bronson won’t be playing NXNE after all. The controversial New York rapper was scheduled to play Yonge-Dundas Square on June 21 as part of a free hip-hop show open to the public during the festival. But an online petition started on Tuesday by a woman named Erica Shiner — who argued that Action Bronson’s music “glorifies gang-raping and murdering women” and asked that he not be allowed to perform in a city-owned public space — seems to have succeeded. The decision to remove Action Bronson from the bill comes after some 37,000 people signed the petition in a matter of days.
NXNE conceded with a heavy heart. In an official statement, festival organizers applauded community engagement in the fight against violence on women, but also added:
“As a result [of the petition], we will not be presenting Action Bronson at Yonge-Dundas Square but, hopefully we will still be presenting Action Bronson as part of Northby. We remain fundamentally committed to presenting this artist on a Toronto stage. We are not moving the Action show because we believe in censoring him or any other artists. In fact, we find the limiting of artistic expression distasteful. When artistic expression is limited, freedom and the evolution of ideas is often the casualty.
Hopefully, Action Bronson will accept our invitation to play at another, ticketed venue in he city so the public can decide for themselves if his work has merit. We booked Bronson, in part, because of his latest excellent disc, Mr. Wonderful.”
In addition to trying to find an alternate ticketed venue for Bronson (if he agrees to perform), the festival also now has the difficult task of booking an alternate headliner for the June 21st showcase.