WELLINGTON – New Zealand immigration authorities on Thursday banned Los Angeles rappers Odd Future from entering the country after deciding they pose a threat to public order.
The group was due to play an open-air concert with headline act Eminem on Saturday in Auckland.
Border Operations Manager Karen Urwin said that authorities decided to decline visas to six group members after becoming aware of a 2011 incident in Boston in which some witnesses claimed group members incited fans to attack police officers.
“It’s not a decision we take lightly and not one that happens often,” Urwin said.
Group member Tyler, The Creator vented his frustration on Twitter on Thursday.
“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 that canvas drugs, killing and rape.
Urwin said the six rappers had intended to stay in New Zealand just a few days before leaving for Australia.
She said it is rare to ban musicians under rules that cover character concerns. She said those provisions have been used in the past to stop people like white supremacist leaders and high-profile Holocaust deniers.
She said some people have wrongly assumed that 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.