This week UEA SU announced that controversial artist James Arthur will be playing at the LCR on 6th March on his ‘Back from the Edge’ tour.
James Arthur is launching his tour despite recieving a huge backlash in the last few years over his use of homophobic slurs on social media and in his lyrics. In one of his online raps he references new rapper, Micky Worthless, stating “You should shoot yourself.” He also calls him a “fucking queer”.
The union have a policy in place in bylaw 8.20.6 which states that all artists appearing at union events must be non-discriminatory. The LCR is also the only university venue to book James Arthur on this tour.
Earlier in the year, the openly homophobic band ‘Anti- nowhere league’ were booked by the union to play 16th November 2016. This would not have been their first performance, having played at the LCR in 2011 and the Waterfront in 2013. However, the band cancelled shortly after the announcement.
Already there is a growing backlash, with a Non-Portfolio Officer tweeting “Pretty unacceptable that for the second time this year @UnionUEA have booked an act who has been publicly homophobic and racist.”
When questioned by Concrete, SU Campaigns and Democracy Officer Amy Rust stated that: “this [issue] came up in June 2015 when James Arthur was last booked for the LCR/Waterfront – at the time in consultation with the LGBT+ Officer, we concluded that Arthur’s widely reported apology and comments on the issue meant that his booking would not represent a breach of any policies.”
She added that: “this year’s LGBT+ Officers have not suggested we revise this view.”
It has been reported that complaints are all ready being sent to the union regarding the booking. Despite this, the gig is still being promoted across UEA SU social media.