Cancelled! Sizzla @ Reggae Geel 2016 - Official Statement
In early june Belgium's Reggae Geel Festival announced an exclusive performance by Sizzla Kalonji for this years edition. After strong protests during the past weeks, Sizzla's appearance was cancelled today. The official statement was posted on ReggaeGeel.com in dutch language.
Read the official statement translated here:
"With this letter we would like to inform you of the decision made this morning to cancel the performance of Sizzla at Reggae Geel. This difficult decision was made by the Board of Directors of Reggae Geel.
For a multicultural organization like Reggae Geel, tolerance is the highest importance. The Board of Directors, all employees and the public are very open-minded and socially conscious.
The reason to book Sizzla has been accompanied by a number of considerations. Of course we were aware, that Sizzla is an extroverted artist.
Various arrangements were made to still book the artist and let Sizzla perform at Reggae Geel for his fans. Of course we knew that this artist has done homophobic statements in the past, but after a verbal contact with the artist, he has confirmed that he had renounced it in recent years. We can refer for his performance in FC Molenbeek on November 11, 2014 which was accident free.
When we booked Sizzla, we had no knowledge of the video that was shot in a nightclub in Kingston Jamaica in January 2016, in which Sizzla is doing very controversial and homophobic statements. As an organization, we distance ourselves strongly from these statements.
Despite the fact that the contract clearly stipulates that no homophobic statements at Reggae Geel would happen, the Board of Directors decided to cancel Sizzla’s performance.
Currently we are working hard to find a replacement act, which we hope to please his disappointed fans."
LGBT rights group OUTRAGE Belgium used the graphic below in their campaign against Reggae Geel: