Odd Future's NZ ban details released

Hip-hop crew Odd Future.
Hip-hop crew Odd Future.

Details behind Immigration New Zealand's decision to ban LA rap group Odd Future from the country in February have been released.

The group, who were meant to support Eminem at his show at Western Springs, were told they were not welcome in New Zealand just two days before the concert, after Immigration new Zealand deemed them to be a threat to the public.

However, documents released under the Official Information Act have revealed border operations manager Karen Urwin hoped the decision would result in a positive news story for the the government agency.

On February 12 an email had been sent to INZ staff asking: "Anything (legal) we can use to stop these people from coming?"

In the email chain that followed, Urwin wrote: "Given that this group's intended appearance already has the lobby groups up in arms, our denying them entry will undoubtedly generate some media interest (shades of Mike Tyson,) however I think we have the opportunity to spin this in to a good news story for INZ.

"There is also the strong possibility that the group will make some very public (and offensive) protestations but in my view this will only serve to reinforce the appropriateness of our decision."

In a reply to Urwin on February 13, another staff member wrote: "Fun times. I think you are right, this is a good story for INZ".

In the emails, the band's lyrics were called "homophobic and racist" and they were described as glorifying "rape and murder fantasies, as well as cannibalism and necrophilia".

At the time, an Immigration New Zealand spokesperson said the group had been banned because they were deemed "to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence", not because of their lyrics.

The agency cited an incident in Boston in 2011, in which some witnesses claimed group members incited fans to attack police officers.

She was referring to an incident at an album signing for frontman Tyler, The Creator when the group climbed on top of the shop and ran from roof to roof. An officer was hurt and a 13-year-old girl arrested.

A month after being denied entry to New Zealand, one of the group, Tyler, The Creator was arrested after reportedly encouraging fans to push past security at a gig in Austin, Texas.

- nzherald.co.nz

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