Published May 29, 2015Following a heated discussion over whether or not Action Bronson should appear at a free concert at Yonge-Dundas Square during Toronto's NXNE, organizers for the music festival have announced that they've removed the controversial rapper from performing at the outdoor city space.
A statement delivered this afternoon explains that the debate, triggered by a petition that accused the Queens rapper of "violent misogyny" via songs like "Consensual Rape," has led organizers to remove the rapper from playing at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 21.
This is a change of position from NXNE, which had responded to the petition earlier in the week by saying the show would go on. The petition has been signed by more than 37,000 people.
Though Action Bronson won't be playing the free outdoor show, organizers have added that they're hoping to move his set indoors for a ticketed club performance. However, this has not yet been confirmed on Action Bronson's end.
As for Bronson, tweets from earlier in the week had him defending his position by saying the songs in question were from 2011. He then reported on Twitter that he had banned from playing NXNE. Those tweets have all since been deleted.
You can read NXNE's full position on cancelling Action Bronson's outdoor performance down below:
We at Northby Northeast (NXNE) are very proud of our 20 plus years relationship with the people of the City of Toronto. And for almost 10 years we've shared Yonge-Dundas Square with you to present free, all ages shows open to the public. YDS is the city's space and as such we are obliged to listen to how the city and community want it used. A significant number of Torontonians have indicated their desire to have Action Bronson not perform at the Square. As annual guests in this space we feel we must accede to the strong wishes of the community and honour their input.
As a result, 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 the 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.
We hope that this series of events does not foster some type of artistic chill in Toronto and its public spaces. Yonge-Dundas Square must remain a dynamic place where many viewpoints are expressed not just culturally but also at political events and rallies staged there.
We are heartened by the community engagement that has been taking place around this YDS show. This debate continues an important conversation about violence against women and its depiction in art and culture that is long overdue. We salute all of those who fight this battle and we would encourage everyone who has signed the petition or been engaged by this conversation to commit themselves personally to continuing the fight against violence against women. We at Northby pledge to continue being part of this discussion with the intent to help act as agents of change.
The Directors of North by Northeast