Big Day Out organisers have backtracked and pulled controversial Jamaican performer Beenie Man out of next year's event.

Gay rights groups expressed outrage at the invitation to the Auckland event for Beenie Man, whose lyrics include "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays".

The Big Day Out website yesterday said he had renounced those sentiments and promised to stick to "peaceful and humanistic values".

However, "the depth of feeling and hurt amongst these groups has convinced us that for us to proceed with his Big Day Out appearances was, and would continue to be, divisive among our audience members and would mar the enjoyment of the event for many".

A Facebook group started to protest at Beenie Man's participation had more than 900 members last week. content editor Jay Bennie had called on Beenie Man to be axed from the lineup to send a message that homophobia was not acceptable in New Zealand.

"He has come to represent extreme homophobia and a call for violence and murder against gays and lesbians, and so even his presence on the stage brings up that whole image of hatred and violence."