USA: Artists arrested, banned, receive death threats related to Trump actions

Italian opera tenor Andrea Bocelli and US singer Jennifer Holliday both backed out from performing at the US presidential inauguration of Donald Trump just days before the event revealing they received death threats if they went ahead with their performances, reported Daily Mail on 15 January 2017.

“They were saying I should kill myself or someone should kill me all over singing a song,” Holliday told Us Weekly on 19 January 2017.

The Daily Mail reported that while most reports said Bocelli dropped out due to fans saying they would boycott his performances and stop buying his records, a source told the newspaper that his security team advised him to not go ahead with the performance due to death threats.

Both artists have received negative messages on social media about their initial decision to perform.

Radio station bans Madonna
Texas radio station HITS 105, based out of the town of Texarkana, has banned Madonna’s music “indefinitely”, calling comments she made at the 21 January Women’s March in Washington, D.C., “un-American”, reported Newsweek and Spin on 25 January 2017.

In a post on the station’s Facebook page, station manager Terry Thomas wrote:

“Banning all Madonna songs at HITS 105 is not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of patriotism. It just feels wrong to us to be playing Madonna songs and paying her royalties when the artist has shown un-American sentiments. If all stations playing Madonna took their lead from us, that would send a powerful economic message to Madonna.”

Madonna made comments about the inauguration of US president Donald Trump, which were criticised by some, though the artists said they were ”taken wildly out of context”.

The comment in question was: “Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am outraged, Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair.”

A repeat of the Dixie Chicks ban
The Madonna ban by HITS 105 recalls an incident in 2003 when US country band Dixie Chicks were banned and boycotted across the country for statements they made against the Iraq war and then-president George W. Bush at a London concert, just nine days before the war began.

In fact, in a letter to Spin magazine, Thomas clarified the station’s decision by using the Dixie Chicks ban as an example:

”We are a local radio station and are responsive to our listeners and we felt this ban was the right thing to do and there’s precedent for this. Just think back to what happened to the Dixie Chicks on country radio.”

Actor arrested at anti-Trump protest
Actor and performance artist Shia LaBeouf was arrested on 26 January in New York City during a live streamed performance art project at his permanent installation aimed at protesting Donald Trump’s presidency, reported The Guardian on 26 January 2017.

Police said they were called to the scene after the actor got into an argument with another man with opposing political opinions and allegedly assaulted the man, though exact details remain unclear. LaBeouf was charged with misdemeanour assault and harassment, but was not imprisoned. He was instructed to appear in court on 4 April 2017.

LaBeouf’s project, entitled ‘He Will Not Divide Us’, which he is doing in collaboration with two other artists, invites people to stand in front of a live camera repeating the words “he will not divide us”, which will run all day, every day for the duration of Trump’s presidency.

*** UPDATE: Assault charges against Shia LaBeouf have been dropped, reported BBC on 31 March 2017. Additionally, the art installation has had to be moved twice in the US due to people trying to disrupt the 24-hour livestream or damage the work. The installation had also moved to Liverpool in the United Kingdom, but it faced the same problems and the project was also cancelled there.

Photo: Women’s March in Washington, D.C./Wikicommons


» BBC – 31 March 2017
Shia LaBeouf assault charges dropped

» Artnet – 10 March 2017
Trump supporters stake ‘He Will Not Divide Us’ livestream to mystery location

» The Guardian – 26 January 2017
Shia LaBeouf arrested at anti-Trump art installation in New York

» The New York Times – 26 January 2017
Shia LeBeouf is arrested at anti-Trump art show in New York

» Spin – 25 January 2017
Texas radio station bans Madonna “indefinitely” following her Women’s March speech

» Newsweek – 25 January 2017
Texas radio station bans ‘un-American’ Madonna after White House comments at women’s march

» Us Weekly – 18 January 2017
Jennifer Holliday on why she dropped out of Donald Trump’s inauguration: ‘You make up and everybofy hates you’

» Daily Mail – 15 January 2017
Opera star Andrea Bocelli backs out of singing at Trump’s inauguration after receiving death threats

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