SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A group of activists gathered outside a downtown Sacramento nightclub Sunday night to protest the performance of a Jamaican reggae singer who has been criticized for strong anti-gay lyrics.
Shouting slogans like “Hate speech kills,” the protesters voiced their anger at the owners of Harlow’s for allowing Capleton’s performance to continue.
“He doesn’t like gays, he’s against them and he has called for the killing of gays in his music,” said Ken Pierce of Equality Action Now, a Sacramento-based gay rights group.
Some of Capleton’s songs, such as “Burn Out Di Chi Chi,” have attracted the ire of activists who say a recent string of suicides by gay youths show that anti-gay bullying and threats can cause serious harm. (In Jamaican patois, “chi chi” refers to gay men.)
Harlow’s owners say they’ve supported gay-friendly events in the past but also support an artist’s right to free speech, even if it’s divisive. The club cancelled a Capleton performance last year amid strong condemnation from the gay and lesbian community.