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Promoters Catch Flak Over Banton Bookings

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A gay and lesbian rights group is taking both AEG and Live Nation to task for booking dates by reggae performer Buju Banton, citing his history of advocating violence against gays and lesbians.

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center is calling for AEG to cancel three dates — one at the Nokia Club in LA on October 14, in San Francisco on October 10 and in Philadelphia on September 12. They are also calling on Live Nation to pull the plug on a string of HoB dates; Chicago on Oct. 1, Las Vegas on Oct. 15, Dallas on Oct. 20 and Houston on Oct. 22.

Banton has a history of homophobia in his music and his most notorious song "Boom, Bye Bye" includes lyrics such as "faggots get up and run" when he comes, that "they have to die," and that he will shoot them in the head or "burn them up bad."

This isn't Banton's first run-in with this kind of controversy and in 2004, HoB canceled a concert at its West Hollywood venue after a public hue and cry. Thus far, AEG has not responded thus far to requests from the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to cancel the event and Live Nation's CEO Michael Rapino reportedly said that he is "looking into the situation."

"In his home country of Jamaica, Banton and his fellow performers of 'murder music,' have helped to create and sustain a culture in which violence against LGBT people is not only tolerated, it's sometimes celebrated," said L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Executive Officer Lorri L. Jean. "The Center is an ardent supporter of free speech and artistic expression, but we cannot — and will not — tolerate speech in any form that promotes violence against LGBT people." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers