ABOVE: Global News’ Cindy Pom reports on an online petition urging NXNE to cancel a concert by controversial rapper Action Bronson.
TORONTO — A petition launched Tuesday hopes to convince organizers of Toronto’s NXNE festival to pull the plug on a free show by Action Bronson.
The American hip-hop artist is scheduled to perform June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square, a city-owned outdoor venue.
Erica Shiner’s change.org petition claims Bronson “glorifies gang-raping women.”
Shiner believes the concert is “an insult to the people of Toronto” and should be cancelled “on the grounds that he produces hate speech.”
The petition is aimed at the City of Toronto, the NXNE festival, NOW magazine (whose publishers are directors of the festival) and sponsor Vans Footwear.
The show is part of an NXNE program that received a $270,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
In a 2011 song titled “Consensual Rape,” Bronson raps about drugging a woman to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with several men.
Bronson also raps that he will “burn her with a candle.”
The same track includes a threat to “rip your t**s off.”
In its first day online, Shiner’s petition collected nearly 1,000 supporters.
“Rape is a very real problem in the city of Toronto, and a problem our nation as a whole is facing,” wrote Eilish McBrearty. “NXNE is a musical institution, and it would be incredibly disappointing to know that such an institution would allow lyrics like these to be performed on public property during their festival.”
Trevor Blumas commented: “There may be a place for this crap, but it’s not at a free public event.”
Toronto electronic music act Austra tweeted a link to the petition.
Late Wednesday, Bronson tweeted his reaction.
In a statement, NXNE organizers said artists “have the right to express their views through music, but those views belong to them and them alone” and people offended by Bronson’s music “are invited to check out other Festival showcases.”
NXNE added it is looking “to provide opportunities for concerned voices to be heard.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory told Global News he doesn’t believe he should judge art but added: “I personally feel this kind of language is unacceptable.”
Tory said he supports NXNE management and trusts “they will exercise their judgement and sensitivity to deal with this matter as soon as possible.”
Bronson, 31, was a New York City chef before an injury convinced him to focus on his music career. His major label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in March.
The rapper, a father of two whose real name is Ariyan Arslani, was criticized in 2012 for posting a photo on Instagram of an apparently incapacitated transgender person with the caption: “Close up of Drunk Mexican Tranny after Bes poured a Bottle of water on its head.”
He later deleted the post and apologized on Twitter.
In addition to the June 12 show in Toronto, Bronson is scheduled to perform July 31 at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival.