US RAP artist Tyler the Creator sings songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women. His lyrics include themes of murder, genital mutilation, stuffing women into car boots, trapping them in his basement, raping their corpses and burying their bodies. In Tyler’s world, women are sluts, bitches and ‘‘hos’’ who invite criminal acts. They have it coming. It’s what they deserve. And we just welcomed him to Australia. Many are calling on Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor to explain why he has given a platform to an artist who raps about rape as fun. The rapper’s concerts begin in Perth today. He’ll be in Melbourne on Friday. His Brisbane gig at Eatons Hill Hotel is listed as for ‘‘all ages’’. Tyler the Creator gets a free pass to promote male entitlement to do anything to women. Some of his lyrics include:
‘‘ You call this sh– rape but I think that rape’s fun, I just got one request, stop breathin’’
‘‘ F– Mary . . . keep that bitch locked up in my storage, rape her and record it’’ ‘‘ Chop her up in the back of a Wrangler’’ ‘‘ I wanna tie her body up and throw her in my basement, keep her there, so nobody can wonder where her face went’’
There’s lots more, but it’s unpublishable.
In Australia, violence against women costs the taxpayer an estimated $13.6 billion. The Australian Government says it is strongly committed to reducing domestic violence and sexual assault, and has provided funding of $75.7 million over four years via the Women’s Safety Agenda.
The Victorian Government’s action plan to address violence against women allocates $90m to the cause this year.
To violence against women Australia says . . . it’s just entertainment?
If we are serious about addressing violence against women, should a visa be granted to a man who makes a living treating it as entertainment? What’s the point of programs if we tolerate those who fuel it?
In a plea to Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor and Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, Perth woman Caitlin Roper wrote: ‘‘As a survivor of sexual violence, I can honestly say the impact is devastating, not only for the woman, but our families and those who love us. I believe we need to have zero tolerance for those that encourage violent and dehumanising acts on women.
‘‘I realise of course that asking you to revoke Tyler the Creator’s visa is a huge ask. However, I would ask you to consider the message you could send to Australians about the serious nature of violence against women and the Government’s lack of tolerance for hate speech against our female citizens.’’
The rapper’s hate speech include gays. Tyler the Creator’s rap group, Odd Future, was banned from the NZ Big Day Out line-up after complaints about his lyrics; in that case, homophobic slurs. Tyler responds to women (including this writer) who criticise his misogynistic lyrics, with sexually intimidating comments on social media.
Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applicants refers to ‘‘people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community’’.
Shouldn’t vilifying women and contributing to an environment that puts them in danger qualify for a reconsideration of his visa? Many of those attending his concerts will be boys forming their opinions about women. They will get a message that abusing women is cool. Inciting criminal acts does not deserve the protection of free speech.
When musicians Tegan & Sara criticised his lyrics he offered them his erect penis. They had written:
‘‘When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offences?’’
Is there one political leader in this country who will declare Tyler the Creator’s brand of hatred unwelcome?
When a society doesn’t take violence against women seriously, and even considers it a form of entertainment, it has devastating results for women and girls.
The human rights violations Tyler raps about happen to real women. He is contributing to a culture that enables and excuses it. In a country that claims to care about the treatment of women, why would we give him a platform?