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Auckland Council faces pressure to reject rape culture

12 February 2014

Auckland Council faces pressure to reject rape culture

[Trigger warning: Rape, sexual assault, domestic violence]

Auckland Council is under pressure from a sexual violence advocacy group, for a decision by a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) to allow a group infamous for rape and murder fantasy lyrics to perform on Council-controlled property this weekend.

Stop Demand Foundation has contacted Auckland Council over a late replacement act, Odd Future, at this weekend’s Rapture 2014 to be held at Western Springs stadium.

In an email to all Councillors and signed by its six trustees, Stop Demand provides examples of the group’s pattern of lyrics across various tracks:
(a) Tron Cat: “I f**k b***hes with no permission…Rape a pregnant b***h and tell my friends I had a threesome…Starve her 'til I carve her then I shove her in the Rover, Where I cut her like a barber”;
(b) Blow: “Leave the b***h breathless, what the b***h don't know is that, I'm a muthaf**kin' sellout and a rapist…And you call this sh*t rape but I think that rape's fun”;
(c) Splatter: “I'mma change my name to Uncle Phil, cause every girl I deal and f**k, it's always against her Will”;
(d) B***h Suck Dick: “By the way, we do punch b***hes...Smoke a blunt, f**k a b***h, in the butt”;
(e) Swag Me Out: “Lookin' for a white chick to smoke up and choke up…now you ready to get raped…let’s play an Odd game, it’s called b***h you better run…Nigga we take your girl, rape her in the back of the f**kin’ Jeep…chop a b***hes head off and get a pleasure nut off, b***h”.

Stop Demand’s founder Denise Ritchie says, “It is astonishing that in light of the nationwide outcry and soul-searching that arose over the Roast Busters’ incident, and the sexual callousness of some young men towards women, Auckland Council is about to allow a group that glorifies rape and rape culture to perform on Council-owned property – and at an ‘all ages’ event.”

Stop Demand says that the group’s hatred towards women and its incitement of fans, many under aged, extends beyond lyrics to real-life. It points to an incident in Sydney last year, where their lead rapper, ‘Tyler, the Creator’, abused onstage a young Australian campaigner who spoke out against the group’s misogyny. To the rousing cheer of fans he dedicated the song “B***h Suck Dick” with "some b***h is trying to get me kicked out of the country. F**king b***h, I wish she could hear me call her a b***h, too, f**king whore. Yeah, I got a sold out show right now b***h. Hey this f**king song is dedicated to you, you f**king c**t." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ModFCEJaRlk

Also under fire are council-controlled Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) director, Paul Brewer, and Melbourne-based promoter Dainty Group’s Managing Director, Tim McGregor. In its email to Councillors, Stop Demand says, “We reject entirely the minimisation of such extreme women-hating vitriol by this group as mere ‘artistic expression’ (McGregor) or ‘lyrics that don't appeal to sections of society’ (Brewer)”... this is not freedom of expression, as the right is intended; it is hate speech.”

Stop Demand is urging the Council to consider its ethical, moral and social responsibilities; to hold the RFA to its legal obligation to "exhibit a sense of social... responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates” (Local Government Act 2002); and to hold the RFA to its objective "to offer experiences to improve the cultural, environmental and social wellbeing of residents". Ritchie says, “Speech glorifying women as mere objects to be brutalised, raped and butchered, at an all-ages event, does nothing – we repeat nothing - to improve the social wellbeing of residents. It is completely irresponsible on the part of all parties involved.”

Several Councillors have contacted Stop Demand to express strong support for its call for the act to be pulled. Stop Demand has informed the Chair of the CCO Governance and Monitoring Committee, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, that nothing less than banning this group from performing at Rapture 2014 would be acceptable.

Pulling music acts on Council-operated property is not unprecedented. The same group was axed from performing at Mt Smart Stadium in 2011, as was reggae’s Beenie Man in 2009, both on the grounds of offensive homophobic lyrics. Ritchie says, “When it comes to deeply offensive misogyny, and the endorsement of rape culture, the rights of women and girls should be no less than the rights of the gay community.”

Ritchie says that the pressure to address the issue at such late notice was foisted on all parties including Stop Demand by the event’s decision-makers. “While the late timing is unfortunate,” says Ritchie, “it is still within Council’s power to exert greater pressure on the organisation under its control, Regional Facilities Auckland, to pull Odd Future’s act even if it comes at a contractual cost. Rapture 2014 was fully sold out before Odd Future’s inclusion so there is no misrepresentation to ticket holders. It’s a contractual matter between the Council, the CCO and the Australian-based promoter. There are a number of artists performing. If a replacement is required, it would be a great opportunity to showcase some local talent suited to the all-ages event.”

The question for Ms Hulse is: On her watch, will Auckland Council permit the glorification of rape and extreme violence against women at a Council-controlled venue - yes or no?’”

Stop Demand calls for action to stop sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children.

ENDS

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