Outraged French gays halt Capleton gigs

7th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 7 (AFP) - At least six concert venues in France have cancelled concerts by a popular Jamaican reggae singer whose lyrics, seen as inciting violence against homosexuals, have prompted protests by gay rights groups.

PARIS, June 7 (AFP) - At least six concert venues in France have cancelled concerts by a popular Jamaican reggae singer whose lyrics, seen as inciting violence against homosexuals, have prompted protests by gay rights groups.  

France has strict laws banning public hate speech and defamation, most commonly applied to protect social groups that have historically suffered discrimination.  

The singer, Capleton, still has several concert dates scheduled in France this month, including one on June 26 at Le Zenith, one of Paris' most famous music halls.  

"My responsibility is to react if an artist makes illegal comments on stage," Zenith's director Daniel Colling said.  

"At the same time, I am bothered by the idea of judging and condemning someone before the act," he told AFP by telephone.  

Colling said he intended to ask Capleton, via the musician's French agent Mediacom, to sign a document pledging not to use defamatory speech during his performance.  

If Capleton refused to sign, Colling added, the concert would be cancelled.  

Six other music venues axed scheduled performances after gay rights group Coordination InterPride France bombarded local authorities and organizers with e-mails of protest.  

Other gay rights organizations in France have stopped short of calling for an outright ban on Capleton's concerts, saying such a step might do more harm than good. "It will just increase the level of hate," said the Actions Gay LGBT association, based in the northwest region of Brittany.  

The group is nonetheless seeking written assurances from the singer that he will not cross the line into gay-bashing and that any performance will be immediately halted if he should do so.  

Capleton, along with other Jamaican reggae singers accused of inciting hatred against whites and homosexuals, signed such an accord in February with the British gay and lesbian organization Outrage.  

According to a spokesman from a French gay rights organization, Les Fourmis, "Capleton has not lapsed" since then.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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