Odd Future Banned From NZ Over Threat Fears
An American rap group has been refused entry to New Zealand after concerns its members pose a threat to public order.
Odd Future were due to perform at a rap festival called Rapture with headline act Eminem in Auckland on Saturday.
Visas for the group's six rappers were declined by immigration officials who became aware of a 2011 incident in Boston where witnesses claimed members incited fans to attack police officers.
"It's not a decision we take lightly and not one that happens often," border operations manager Karen Urwin said.
Group member Tyler, The Creator took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
"They said we were 'terrorist threats and bad for the society' or whatever. Sick," he wrote. He later tweeted: "I love NZ tho."
The hip-hop group, which is also known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, is known for its anarchic style and lyrics about drugs, killing and rape.
Ms Urwin said the six rappers had intended to stay in New Zealand just a few days before leaving for Australia.
She said it was rare to ban musicians under rules that cover character concerns. She said those provisions in the past have been used to stop people like white supremacist group leaders and high-profile Holocaust deniers.
She said some people wrongly assumed authorities considered the group's lyrics in imposing the ban.
"If we banned people who used swear words, we wouldn't have many people left in New Zealand," she said.
In an official statement, Immigration New Zealand said: "Odd Future has been deemed to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence."
In the 2011 incident, Tyler, The Creator was signing autographs at a comic store when police were called because of the large number of fans. News reports at the time said Tyler and two others climbed on the roof and shouted insults at the police, and some viewed that as inciting fans to attack.
Ms Urwin said an Odd Future group member in Australia also tweeted details of a woman campaigning to have the group banned, which resulted in her receiving threats.
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