They argue that the rapper's lyrics glorify gang-raping women and convey "violent misogyny," specifically calling out the song "Consensual Rape" and deeming it hate speech. The campaign's increased goal of 1,000 signatures has already been exceeded, and now the organizers of NXNE have issued a response.
In a press release, the festival notes that Bronson's previous 2012 appearance with Killer Mike, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah was a "positive" one, and while the organizers are welcoming discussion, NXNE says that it upholds individual artists' right to express their views through their own music.
The festival's response, in its entirety, reads:
On Tuesday, May 26 a group of concerned Torontonians created a petition to remove Action Bronson from NXNE's lineup on Sunday, June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square. The petition has spawned a passionate online discussion. The Festival would like to address this topic.
Action Bronson performed at Yonge-Dundas Square as part of NXNE in 2012 with Killer Mike, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. It was a positive concert that was described by reviewers as "laid back," "a lot of fun" and a "world class hip-hop showcase." NXNE is confident the lineup on June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square will make for another enjoyable day of music in a public space.
"NXNE will also present a number of rap artists at various venues, such as Tink and Kate Tempest, who have be lauded for the undisguised feminist viewpoints in their music," says Sara Peel, Managing Director of NXNE. "That being said, in the interest of moving forward in a positive manner, we are engaging in discussion with our community about this important issue, and looking to provide opportunities for concerned voices to be heard."
NXNE believes each and every one of these artists have the right to express their views through music, but those views belong to them and them alone. Those who are offended by an artist are invited to check out other Festival showcases, as NXNE will present hundreds of artists this June — some may be considered controversial, but most are just plain fun.
NXNE will run across venues in Toronto from June 17 to 21. Action Bronson's free concert is scheduled for June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square.
UPDATE: Action Bronson seems to have caught wind of the campaign, but seems pretty unfazed by the concerns brought up in the petition — laughing it off in a tweet, and assuring Toronto fans that he'll be making his scheduled appearance.
HAHAHAHA I THOUGHT THEY LOVED ME IN TORONTO!!! I CANT WAIT TO COME!!! ILL SEE AT NXNE.— MR. WONDERFUL (@ActionBronson) May 27, 2015
UPDATE 2: Action Bronson has shared more tweets regarding the NXNE petition.
It's so funny the song that is causing these Torontonians to have their panties in a bunch literally has never been performed, ever.— MR. WONDERFUL (@ActionBronson) May 27, 2015
5 years ago a lost track. That's what u base UR argument on? HOW ABOUT THE 9 PROJECTS THAT HAVE COME OUT SINCE? Don't single me out.— MR. WONDERFUL (@ActionBronson) May 27, 2015