- Concert promoter used censored “tattoo” photo since Jan 4
- Uncensored photo was sent to Star in concert publicity kit
For eight weeks, a censored version of the Erykah Badu “tattoo” photograph had been used by the concert promoter, Pineapple, on the concert Facebook event page as well as in the press release they issued on Jan 4 and available for download.
The calligraphy of the word “Allah” had been removed (above, left) — clearly, the promoters knew, at least eight weeks ago, that it might cause problems.
And yet the uncensored photo was apparently supplied to the Star last week. I’m told that the photo was contained in the pre-concert publicity press kit sent to the press. It is the same image displayed on the Erykah Badu web site.
(The web site has been blanked out since late on Tuesday night, after the Malaysian government announced the banning of the concert.)
Is the government’s morality gestapo blind, lazy or stupid?
Concerts and performances by big-name western foreign artistes have always contained seeds of controversy: Elton John, for being gay; Lady Gaga, for nudity and gayity; Beyonce, for revealing too much; to take recent examples.
They didn’t come by their behaviour overnight. None of those cases would have justified a last-minute ban on those grounds — and even then, a large portion of Malaysian society does not accept such grounds for a ban.
Moral cowardice in political ‘leadership’
Erykah Badu’s controversial body art — they were not tattoos — have been displayed on her web site; the concert promoter used a censored version of the image for eight weeks, indicating they knew of the potential problem.
Was the culture ministry’s gestapo blind to that fact for eight weeks?
When did culture minister Rais Yatim decide to wake up and appoint himself Grand Caliph and Protector of the Ummah? Was it when a few bloggers started moaning about the photo in the Star on Monday morning? Or did he suddenly realise the ummah needed protection after the Star had already yanked the photo from the web site and apologised?
Going by what they said and did, there seems little doubt that
- the concert promoter and Erykah Badu are being punished for what the Star published;
- the Star is being punished by the home ministry with another threat to its publishing licence, essentially for what Erykah Badu and the concert promoter did.
Thus the Malaysian government resorts to its favourite tool in times of controversy — shooting the messenger.
It is a lazy way out to cover up for shoddiness in administration and moral cowardice in political leadership. But that’s normality in Malaysia. Biasa kan?
- Erykah Badu web site goes black (uppercaise.wordpress.com)
- Malaysia bans singer Erykah Badu for Allah tattoo (telegraph.co.uk)