Action Bronson has been removed from the lineup for George Washington University’s spring concert this Saturday after students complained that his lyrics are misogynist and transphobic. Bronson had been slated to headline the Spring Fling event.
“We apologize to the GW community for causing distress over the past few days and for attempting to bring an artist who is not consistent with our values of diversity and inclusion,” the university’s program board wrote on Facebook. “Spring Fling is intended to be an event for all students to enjoy, and including Action Bronson in the day would go against this.”
The university’s independent student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, published an editorial on why Bronson should not perform.
“I have a hard time understanding any possible justification for bringing Bronson to GW, especially given the importance students here place on progressive advocacy,” opinions editor Sarah Blugis wrote. “Sexual assault prevention and LGBT inclusivity are two of the most prominent issues on campus, yet Bronson is the antithesis of those two causes. Choosing Bronson blatantly ignores survivors on our campus — as well as all the prevention advocacy students have spent so much time on over the last several years.”
She added that Bronson’s music “harbors harmful beliefs and normalizes violence against women and LGBT individuals. … It doesn’t matter that Bronson won’t perform his song about sexual assault. What matters is that the University is paying him to perform at our school.”
After his removal from the program, Bronson wrote an open letter to GWU on Facebook: “It has become clear to me that things have reached a point which makes me feel the need to address the issues raised so that we can bring some understanding and healing to the table, so to speak,” he wrote. “I can’t continue to walk around with the thought that people are thinking these things about me that are far from who I really am.
He continued, “Regardless, I understand that when it comes to musicians, and more specifically rappers, the lyrics I say are taken to heart many times as a representation of my beliefs or true feelings. SO please let me make this very clear: I think rape and acts of violence toward woman are DISGUSTING. I would never condone anything remotely close to that type of behavior, and it’s certainly not what I’m about at all. But, the song in question has caused people discomfort and pain and I’m sincerely sorry about it. It was not my intention to hurt people when I made it years ago, and I certainly will be much more sensitive on this matter moving ahead.”
This isn’t the first time Bronson has been removed from a festival due to the subject matter of his lyrics. Last May, Toronto festival NXNE removed him from the public main stage for similar reasons. Bronson’s since-deleted Twitter reply at the time was more defensive than Thursday’s letter.
“It’s so funny the song that is causing these Torontonians to have their panties in a bunch literally has never been performed, ever,” he wrote at the time. “5 years ago a lost track. That’s what u base UR argument on? HOW ABOUT THE 9 PROJECTS THAT HAVE COME OUT SINCE? Don’t single me out.”