James Taylor cancels Philippines concert over violent drug war
James Taylor will not perform in Manila next year, canceling his planned Philippines show because of the country’s violent anti-drug crusade.
“I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand,” Taylor wrote in a statement on his website. “The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.”
The singer, 68, added a “heartfelt” apology to his fans while canceling the Feb. 25 show, and noted that ticket buyers will receive a full refund.
Since becoming the country’s president in June, Rodrigo Duterte has initiated a war on illegal drug use, which has left more than 6,000 people dead. This week, the United Nations human rights commission pushed for an investigation into Duterte after he claimed to have “personally” killed criminals in his time as mayor of Davao City.