Women’s Refuge calls for Rhythm and Vines to drop rapper Dizzee Rascal

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Advocates against domestic violence Women’s Refuge are calling for convicted rapper to be dropped from festival lineup. Photo / Supplied

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A spokesperson for Women’s Refuge NZ has echoed statements condemning Rhythm and Vines’ decision to book rapper Dizzee Rascal.

The popular summer festival booked the rapper as part of its 20th anniversary lineup, despite him being found guilty of an “abusive and aggressive assault” in the UK in March this year.

In a statement shared by Instagram account Beneath the Glass Ceiling, a spokesperson for the advocates against domestic violence wrote, “This is one of the problems we’ve got in New Zealand, we claim to care about things like this [domestic violence] but when it comes to our own particular interest – like going to a festival and having a good time – then maybe it’s not quite so important.”

It comes as the Instagram account Beneath the Glass Ceiling shared an open letter to the festival’s organisers, its sponsors and Live Nation.

“It is no secret that Aotearoa has the worst rates of domestic violence in the OECD,” they wrote.

“It is a horrific statistic that campaigners are tirelessly working hard to change. By choosing to platform a perpetrator of domestic violence, you are telling our country, particularly rangatahi, that domestic violence is not a big deal … violence has no place in Aotearoa nor in our music industry.”

They continued, saying the apology from Rhythm and Vines was not good enough and called for a “zero tolerance precedent for offenders of violence and sexual harassment”.

Last week, a Rhythm and Vines spokesperson apologised for an “inappropriate” statement made by the festival’s co-founder and director Hamish Pinkham.

Dizzee Rascal arrives to appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in London, March 7, 2022. Photo / AP
Dizzee Rascal arrives to appear at Wimbledon Magistrates Court in London, March 7, 2022. Photo / AP

Earlier in the week, Pinkham spoke regarding the festival’s decision to book Dizzee Rascal despite the UK rapper being found guilty of an “abusive and aggressive” assault conviction in March this year.

Pinkham told Stuff, he and the festival organisation team was well aware of the conviction and continued to secure him for the December 30 performance anyway saying that while the rapper’s conviction was a “red flag” his team is looking to book tours for him again.

“As we say, he’s done the crime, done the time, and now it’s time to do the grime,” he told Stuff.

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