Deny visa for Tyler the Creator: letter to Immigration Minister

The Hon. Mr Peter Dutton MP
Parliament House Ministerial Office
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Dear Minister,

We are writing to you regarding visa applicant Tyler Gregory Okonma -stage name ‘Tyler the Creator’- who is due to arrive in Australia for a national music tour September 3.

Australian Immigration Fact Sheet 78 on Controversial Visa Applicants refers to “people whose presence in Australia may, because of their activities, reputation, known record or the cause they represent and propagate, vilify or incite discord in the Australian community or a segment of that community, or represent a danger to the Australian community or a segment of that community.”

We believe the application by Tyler the Creator meets the Department’s definition of ‘Controversial Visa Applicant’. Our views are based on the content of his song lyrics and his behavior during his July 2013 tour.

Tyler the Creator seeks to enter Australia in order to profit from the broadcasting and selling of these lyrics. While his activities are therefore commercial, the content of the product he sells propagates discriminatory ideas about women and other groups, and represent a danger to a segment of the Australian community on the potential basis of incitement to acts of hatred.

Tyler the Creator has received widespread media attention over the span of his career for misogynistic hate speech against women, as well as homophobia. He is renowned for his songs advocating rape and extreme violence against women, including murder, genital mutilation, stuffing them into car boots, trapping them in his basement, raping their corpses and burying their bodies.

A characteristic feature of his songs is retribution against women who he perceives have wronged him. For example, he sings about strangling and chopping up women who reject his sexual advances and raping their corpses.

"Raquel treat me like my father like a f*ckin' stranger, She still don't know I made Sarah to strangle her, Not put her in danger and chop her up in the back of a Wrangler, All because she said no to homecoming.'"

“You'll be down in earth quicker if you diss me tonight, I just wanna drag your lifeless body to the forest, And fornicate with it but that’s because I’m in love with you…c*nt.”

Other lyrics include:

"F*ck Mary in her ass.. ha-ha.. yo, I tell her it's my house, give her a tour, In my basement, and keep that bitch locked up in my storage, Rape her and record it, then edit it with more sh*t”

"You already know you're dead, Ironic cause your lipstick is red, of course, I stuff you in the trunk”

"You call this sh*t rape but I think that rape's fun, I just got one request, stop breathin"

"I wanna tie her body up and throw her in my basement, Keep her there, so nobody can wonder where her face went, (Tyler, what you doin'?) Shut the f*ck up, You gon' f*ckin' love me bitch, Sh*t, I don't give a f*ck, your family lookin' for you, wish 'em good luck, Bitch, you tried to play me like a dummy, Now you stuck up in my motherf*ckin' basement all bloody, And I'm f*ckin' your dead body, your coochie all cummy, Lookin' in your dead eyes, what the f*ck you want from me?”

The messages propogated in these lyrics pose particular risk to the Australian community by conveying the message that interpersonal conflict might be legitimately resolved through violence. Unfortunately this message still enjoys resonance in significant parts of our society which heightens the risk posed to women and children of his entry.

We draw your attention to a previous Collective Shout campaign in June 2013 calling on the former Minister to revoke Tyler’s visa. As a result of our actions, Talitha Stone, a young activist who led our campaign, was subjected to multiple rape and death threats from Tyler’s fans, with the artist himself inciting violence against her on twitter and at his Sydney (all-ages) concert, where a young woman was also raped.

The footage can be viewed on You Tube:

The abuse continues and police have been involved. The incident attracted widespread international media attention and resulted in Twitter implementing a ‘Report Abuse’ button so it could address more quickly online abuse and threats made through its platform.

In January 2014, New Zealand Immigration denied Tyler entry to the country, citing his incitement of violence to Ms Stone at his 2013 Sydney concert as well as inciting crowd to riot at a 2011 concert which left a police officer hospitalized. 

Tyler the Creator is a Controversial Visa Applicant also because of specific conditions that continue to prevail in Australian society. In Australia today, two women are killed each week by an intimate partner. Victoria Police respond to domestic violence calls every ten minutes. In this social context, Tyler’s lyrics pose a particular risk for incitement to violence against women. The manner of the propagation of these lyrics in highly energised, crowded, loud, and technologically staged produced environments makes their threat greater. The fact that concert audiences will be dominated by young men exacerbates the risks.

The Commonwealth Government’s National Plan of Action to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2010-2022 notes that violence against women and their children costs the Australian economy around $13.6 billion a year. If prevailing social conditions continue, “an estimated three-quarters of a million Australian women will experience and report violence in the period of 2021-22, costing the Australian economy an estimated $15.6 billion”. 

There are therefore economic grounds to examine Tyler the Creator’s application on the basis of conditions recognised by the Commonwealth Government to cost more in their aggravation.

The National Plan also states that, “While living safe and free from violence is everyone’s right, reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility”. There is further grounds to consider Tyler’s application on the basis of this assertion.

As a society which claims to be serious about eradicating violence against women, there should be no place for singers who glorify misogyny and degrade women for entertainment. Welcoming artist like Tyler sends a message that our leaders don’t really care about stopping the promotion and glorification of violence against women, and that the National Plan exists in word only. 

The artist’s presence here would contradict the Plan, in that his commercial product and behavior undermines the human rights of women and girls and respectful relationships, and impedes attitudinal and behavioural change especially in young people.

It is our view that your Department has failed to conduct due diligence prior to advising you to grant this visa. 

On behalf of women and girls, and all who care about them, we ask that you place the safety of our female citizens before a recording artist with a criminal history, who wants to exploit women for profit and who will contribute to a harmful cultural environment for them. 

We request that you act urgently to revoke Tyler the Creator’s visa so that he cannot promote his misogynistic attitudes here. Please demonstrate that your Government is serious about addressing the scourge of violence against women by taking this action as a matter of urgency.

Further reading:

Read more about Tyler the Creator's last visit to Australia

Showing 35 reactions

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  • commented 2015-07-28 16:37:12 +1000
    Chewie – It isn’t idiotic, but if you keep making a fuss about it more of these mindless, biased snobs will petition against him coming to our country. It doesn’t help when you have half of these kids threatening these Collective Shout activists on twitter. If these kids continue abusing these feminists, then they’re just going to have more of a case against Tyler and how he promotes hate. I didn’t think I could’ve made it more clear. You should ask yourself whether it or you is truly ‘idiotic’.
  • commented 2015-07-28 16:19:23 +1000
    This is so disappointing. Banning Tyler does not help the cause of protecting women. It achieves nothing at all.

    Your organisation reports to be about exposing the deceptions in the world that encourage exploitation of women, well I find it incredibly ironic that your group has acted in a deceitful manner in portraying a distorted view of an artist. It is you who should be exposed.

    I am a feminist and this kind of brand of feminism is not something I identify with at all. It is not inclusive, It does not make me feel safer or empowered as a woman, it is a brand of feminism grounded in self determining hatred and it makes me feel belittled in my choices. You are an extremist organisation that is an embarrassment and disgrace to feminism and organisations that actually bring about positive change and assist empowering women. Banning Tyler does not ratify the problem at all and in fact is a huge step backwards for feminism in Australia. What kind of women do you actually help? Have you ever physically helped anyone? If your campaigns were actually about helping women, they would be targeted at an actual issue, like a campaign that provides assistance and support female refuges who are being assaulted and exploited in Naru? Perhaps campaign for more access to shelters in suburban areas statistically high domestic abuse? Or maybe providing education programs in schools about violence against women? Now wouldn’t that would be more effective than banning a mascara or a rapper? It would actually help women. I see nothing of the sort on your website. Rather than banning something you don’t understand, please try to campaign for issues that actually target endangered women and provide them with assistance or don’t claim to be something you’re not.
  • commented 2015-07-28 14:25:48 +1000
    Jake – that makes no sense. We should “calm down” until he is actually banned? Don’t say anything when people want him banned? That is absolutely idiotic.
  • commented 2015-07-28 14:22:12 +1000
    Y’all need to calm tf down, he isn’t officially banned yet. This was confirmed by the tour promoter Frontier Touring with the department of immigration.
  • commented 2015-07-28 14:01:24 +1000
    Let’s ban the sale, display and broadcast of all Beethoven. You know, Hitler’s favourite composer. It MUST have been all that Beethoven that drove him to genocide. It couldn’t have been because he was.. oh i dunno, a drug fucked lunatic with genocidal tendencies.
  • commented 2015-07-28 13:55:17 +1000

    This is who you’re wasting your energy on. This guy. This kid.

    He’s a joke and you’re making a joke of actual rape and violence against women by distracting from the rapists and putting emphasis on the MUSIC they listen to.
  • commented 2015-07-28 13:36:34 +1000

    Teen raped at Reading Music festival! WE BEST BAN

    And many more!
  • commented 2015-07-28 13:33:29 +1000

    Teen raped at Tom Jones concert! WE BEST BAN TOM JONES!

    Banning music artists over the actions of their fans is the most absolutely idiotic thing i’ve ever heard of.
  • commented 2015-07-28 13:23:27 +1000
    By making this god-awful, idiotic and illogical petitions, you’re creating a valid defense for rapists and men who commit violent crimes against women. “oh, the music made me do it! i’m not just a horrible, violent rapist – i’m a nice guy, the music made me like this!”

    Seriously. Think about what you’re actually saying, by saying that music makes people violent rapists. You’re taking away any god damn responsibility from the violent rapists and putting it on.. a kid making music.

    Good Job!
  • commented 2015-07-28 13:11:08 +1000
    Fuck you and your ignorant bullshit. If someone is going to rape or be violent towards women, it’s not the god damn music doing it. They’re a violent rapist.

    Have dose of some god damn logic and stop making excuses for violent rapists, with this petition bullshit.

    This is just as bad as saying video games make people kill.

    What absolute fucking nonsense.
  • commented 2015-07-28 12:24:40 +1000
    I am a young Australian woman and honestly this whole ordeal has just made me feel disappointed in being a woman. By trying to ban an artist with a wide fan base range just because they have racy lyrics that are obviously not to be taken seriously is ludacris. I’ve been listening to Tyler and Odd Future for over 5 years now, I neither have any anger or mental issues nor am I a hateful person. The exact opposite actually. I am a spiritual humble young girl who listens to Tyler the creator and does not wish to harm any one, because as music is a form of art art can be interpreted in many a way and clearly Tyler’s art has been taken too seriously when he himself has addressed that he does not hate women. I have a full time job, I graduated from high school, I don’t act out in any way nor have I been in trouble with the law, I am a perfectly fine young woman that knows when not to take music in a literal sense. To seriously think a group of fellow women has done this disgusts me and makes me think this is more of a personal racial attack on Tyler. From what I can see it is the older generation with no actual knowledge of his music that is hating on him just because they see a select few lyrics that are racy and become prejudice, I truly hope this campaign doesn’t get passed because it will literally just make feminist groups look even worse and even more like FEMINAZIS!! Let the young people of Australia see an artist of immaculate talent, we are already restricted by so much when it comes to music artists coming here and this will just make our reputation as a country continue to be the outdated western world. Don’t allow one organization make up the minds of thousands of Tyler fans.
  • commented 2015-07-22 18:55:23 +1000
    “Obvious mental illness” wow so many internet psychologists here! Much baseless accusations, Very flippant and stigmatic use of mental illness labels. Wow. Actually, not wow, because this campaign is very tired and predictable. All I see is a bunch of hateful internet warriors pretending to care about women, which you don’t. From what has been stated above and the comments below, it’s pretty clear prejudice and hate for Tyler based on a limited interpretation of a small hand full of his lyrics is more the issue than women’s actual safety and the actual impact of his lyrics.

    I’ll start this off with some facts, I’m a young Australian woman. I’m do not have a mental illness. I do not encourage hate violence or abuse towards anyone. I am a receptionist and a student teacher. I’m am intelligent young person who can decipher the difference between creative expressions and personas to what is actually real. I’ve been to one of Tyler’s shows and I felt perfectly safe. I am a fan of Tyler, the Creator.

    Aside from the fact that Tyler himself has not abused anyone, what I find concerning is the fact that people who choose to listen to Tyler’s music, are here being ratified as abusers of women and encouragers of violence by extension in these campaigns. Do we have obvious mental illnesses as well? Like most music fans, I think Tyler’s music is fun, really clever and creative. I totally acknowledge though that there are lyrics that describe violence, I am not ignoring them at all but I realise that they are not literal and are more likely to be fantastical expressions of frustration (that are obviously not acted upon in real life) of a character Tyler has created, which become problematic when taken literally and out of context. There’s a difference between the artist and the persona that the artist presents eg. David Bowie, Lady Gaga and even The Wiggles.

    I’m not alone in having this view that Tyler and it is concerning that the diverse range if fans are being labelled as “young violent males” which is a reductionist stereotype of rap and hip-hop fans that does not reflect the truth of the kinds of people we are. Tyler’s audience is in fact not dominated only by young men and I find that statement a generalisation that doesn’t reflect the truth or acknowledge in the slightest that women attend his shows and are fans of his music. It also stigmatises and labels men who are fans of his music as “violent abusers of women” which is totally inaccurate. This attitude is baseless and it is unfair that the people who have written this campaign feel that fans of Tyler are ignorant and support violence of women, which is not the case at all. I’m really quite normal, and so are Tyler’s Australian fans. We don’t appreciate being classified as encouragers of violence. We also do not appreciate freedom of speech being repressed by misinformed people. This is not a country that represses freedom of speech. The legality of this campaign is also really baseless and reaching. If Tyler had actually abused someone, than sure, of course there would be basis to reject his application as a controversial, however ambiguous lyrics are not the basis for rejection. Don’t listen to his music if you don’t like it. If your interpretation of his lyrics offends you, you’re of course entitled to be offended, but don’t condem other people who like his music as being bad people or accuse them of having mental illnesses.

    This is a baseless campaign based on prejudice and wilful ignorance the rather than genuine concern for women or any factual evidence whatsoever. Here are some facts though. Tyler doesn’t drink or do drugs and speaks out against doing them. Tyler doesn’t abuse women. No one who has abused women has said Tyler was their inspiration. Tyler has specifically said that none of the characters he has created who talk about violence are real. If you don’t like Tyler and his music than don’t listen to it and Don’t go to his shows. It’s actually really simple. I thought clever little psychologists would know that? If you choose to interpret Tyler’s lyrics literally, then that illustrates your rudimentary understanding of his artistry. If you are a concerned parent, I can see how its a bit strange, but have a little faith that young people know the difference between fiction and reality. We can surprise you sometimes. If you are a female activist, please understand that this isn’t an accurate representation of Tyler’s fan base and no one wants to see women or anyone get hurt.

    I wish all the health and happiness to the people in this campaign, I really truly do. I don’t wish for any harm to come to you, and I believe most of Tyler’s fans feel the same way. We’re just disappointed this is happening again and the argument is still the same I hope that this can be solved in a manner that allows creative expression and women’s safety. Tyler is a great artist and he puts on great show, it would be really great if I and other fans could see him again.

  • commented 2015-06-30 19:26:42 +1000
    Please do not allow this young man, who obviously is suffering a mental illness with his depraved sexual views, into Australia. Our young children and teenagers do not need to hear his ideas, which must have resulted from a traumatic childhood of sexual abuse. They can be so incredibly harmful to developing minds and bodies, yours sincerely, Glennis Brothers
  • commented 2015-06-28 15:45:47 +1000
    @barbara Roberts You really don’t know what you’re talking about. How do these few lyrics make men feel entitled to abuse women? I’ve been listening to Tyler for roughly 6 years, I’m a young man myself, but never have I once thought it was okay to abuse ANYONE, let alone a woman. I also have several friends, some of whom are woman, who listen to him and will tell you the exact same thing. Your argument has no fact behind it, you’re just uttering blank and mindless words.
  • commented 2015-06-27 19:11:59 +1000
    I fully agree with Collective Shout’s stand on this. Tyler’s attitude and lyrics encourage men to feel entitled to abuse women, and we need to do all we can to diminish that kind of thinking.
  • commented 2015-06-20 20:31:51 +1000
    @melinda Liszewski yeah he abused her, I was at the show, but he was speaking without thinking. The riots were at music festivals, which aren’t common with rap concerts but do occur often at other shows. I was aware of the Eminem thing but it’s just an article, I don’t listen to Eminem or Snoop so regardless, I was just stating a point that you’re scoping out Tyler more than other artist who have done worse.

    How are you going to stop kids at a music festival? Half of them are drug affected so despite his calls to let them in, the venue should’ve been more secure.

    I disagree with the parents comments. I was 14 when I saw Tyler first, 16 the second time and now I’m 18 and going it again, I’ve paid each and every time as I’ve been working since I was legally allowed to. I agree that the concerts should be for 18+ fans, as I don’t like the underage people who ruin the mosh, but it’s their decision to listen to an artist, regardless if they don’t know other songs besides ‘Yonkers’ and ‘She’.

    Oh and the setlist in Switzerland started with Bitch Suck Dick because their Dj, Taco, has a verse in the song and it’s his pick to get the crowd amped for Tyler.

    Regardless, if you want to do something about it you should aim at banging under 18’s from visiting the shows, not to cancel it for the adults who decide to spend their own hard earned money on it. Goodluck stopping him cause I seriously doubt you’ll have the chance.
  • commented 2015-06-20 11:40:34 +1000
    Some have said he’s addressed concerns re: rape and violence. Genuinely interested in seeing any interviews, transcripts or otherwise where he has done this, let me know.
  • commented 2015-06-20 11:36:59 +1000
    Speaking of not looking into things and jumping on the band wagon @jake of, here’s some reading for you:

    Dark lyrics from 5 years ago? He incited violence against one of our activists 2 years ago, he was arrested for inciting a riot just last year. He’s making money off teenagers who want to annoy their parents and in the process he’s putting people in danger.

    What he did here is extremely dangerous, sometimes people die:

    And this:

    Here’s a fan generated set list from May.

    “Bitch Suck Dick” is the first song. The new and improved Tyler?
  • commented 2015-06-19 16:23:45 +1000
    This is ridiculous. Tyler’s presence in Australia won’t even remotely effect you, or anyone, other than the fans who BOUGHT TICKETS TO SEE HIM. If people like something, you’re not going to stop them from liking it by forcing it out of the country. People should be allowed to see who they want to see in concert.
    I’m so tired of this type of feminism – this isn’t helping anyone. Tyler is an artist – you can’t erase some dark lyrics from his old content. Allow those who want to appreciate his music to do so. Kicking him out of the country is beyond ridiculous.
    I am a girl, and I am a fan of Tyler. I recognise the problematic elements of his lyrics, but he has addressed this in the past.
    For the love of God, address an actual real issue affecting women today; not trying to stop a rapper from coming to Australia because of some old lyrics he wrote in a dark time.
  • commented 2015-06-19 15:13:00 +1000
    Why are you people getting mad at someones content that is from 5 years ago when he was abrasive. Listen to his current music and tell me why he should be banned instead of taking examples from old content. He’s even addressed this himself that talking about rape is dead to him. And why attack him while there are artists that are currently talking about the same things or even more violent.
  • commented 2015-06-19 10:00:23 +1000
    Goodluck stopping him. You feminists always try to ruin everything for everyone. You’re trying to prevent Tyler from expressing himself through his art in our country, who’s never physically harmed a person but made a few, I agree, dark lyrics on one album about 5 years ago, nothing since. But you don’t try to prevent artists like The Game, Chris Brown, Tyga, Eminem and other ‘rappers’, actors and performers, who have actually had a domestic violence charge against their name, into the country. You all fixate on one things with very little knowledge and your mindless followers don’t bother to look into it any further, they just jump on the hate bandwaggon.
  • commented 2015-06-18 12:19:31 +1000
    I’ve blocked them from posting again, though I’m sure we can expect more nonsense from others.
  • commented 2015-06-18 12:15:14 +1000
    They just keep making our arguments for us don’t they Aunt M! I’m not sure how I feel about taking advice from someone called “I like Ass Daily.” “most of it isn’t violent” well give him a gold star! I think its time for belieber and “Ass Daily” to go.
  • commented 2015-06-18 10:25:19 +1000
    Wow, sad that my comments keep being justified with these replies. ;)
    By the way I actually am an artist myself and know that it doesn’t excuse or justify bad behaviour or obvious offences to others. It does not give me some sort of special licence to do so. Creativity, and abuse do not go together.
    Hitler also used his free speech and look what came of that. The boundaries of right and wrong disappeared as many started to follow his example and he “created” the many vile atrocities that occurred. That does not make him an artist.
  • commented 2015-06-18 02:01:04 +1000
    This is stupid, you people need to get a life and stop worrying about stuff people do creatively. YOU are what is wrong with this world. Also maybe listen to his last two albums, most of it isn’t violent.
  • commented 2015-06-17 23:26:57 +1000
    aunt m is butt
  • commented 2015-06-17 13:59:21 +1000
    Hugh the point is there needs to be standards as they are declining rapidly in the current self trend of “rights”.
    You are saying that the child rapists, abusers and killers have every right to do what they do and express this in public. You said it is not our job to deny free speech or oppress this sort of behaviour. As it is they are committing atrocious acts of violence and pretty much getting away with ruining many lives with some of the pathetic sentencing by the justice system because of adults " rights" .
    I am not against free speech or denying rights, if they are actually the right thing. I just want to stop what is obviously wrong.
  • commented 2015-06-17 13:23:43 +1000
    Hugh, your last comment makes no sense. Inciting legal action against Tyler? He seems perfectly capable of inciting that himself, given his numerous arrests for inciting violence.
  • commented 2015-06-17 09:26:20 +1000
    Rape supportive attitudes are important predictors of sexual assault
  • commented 2015-06-17 01:17:38 +1000
    Adam, I am sorry but you possess the same argumentative flaws as Aunt. To deny free speech is to deny ones rights as a human being. I am not saying that you are wrong, I agree there is no room for things like that in society, however it is our job as a community to not oppress this sort of behaviour. You are in fact inciting legal action against tyler, and what happens if one does not abide by the law? Violence of course, so by your standards it seems you are inciting violence just like tyler. So why dont we deny you to travel outside of Australia?

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