US pop singer Kesha was forced to cancel a concert due to take place in Muslim-majority Malaysia yesterday after authorities said it would undermine religious and cultural sensitivities.
“We are distraught to confirm that the show [at Kuala Lumpur stadium] will be canceled,” concert organizer Livescape said in a statement, adding that it was losing 1.1 million ringgit (US$350,000) due to the ban.
Livescape said it had received a letter from the authorities on the decision to ban the concert “at the 11th hour” on Friday, despite agreeing to “modify the show to suit the Malaysian culture and sensitivities.”
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said in a brief statement on Friday that it had rejected the application for the concert on grounds that it “touches on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysians.”
Kesha’s MTV reality series My Crazy Beautiful Life has featured her bizarre behavior in the past, including drinking her own urine.
Some of her songs refer to sex and alcohol, which are considered taboo subjects by most Muslims.
Livescape said it had made adjustments to Kesha’s song lyrics and wardrobe changes, and had modified a set list to specifically adhere to the guidelines set forth by the authorities.
Last month, Malaysia pulled the plug on a planned concert by US heavy metal group Lamb of God after Islamic authorities declared the band’s music religiously offensive.
To avoid business risks and similar bans, Livescape said: “We encourage the authorities to engage in a productive dialogue with local promoters to avoid the current situation from repeating.”
Muslims make up 60 percent of multiethnic Malaysia’s 28 million people, while Christians account for about nine percent.
Malaysia is known for its relatively moderate version of Islam.
However, conservatives occasionally cry foul over concerts by Western artists whom they accuse of promoting promiscuity, corrupting young people or offending religious sensitivities, though most concerts usually go ahead.
Music superstar Beyonce has twice canceled shows in Malaysia amid criticism of her image, while US singer Erykah Badu had a concert canceled by authorities last year after a photo appeared showing her with the Arabic word for “Allah” painted on her body.