Former Culture Club frontman and genderbending diva Boy George has cancelled his North American tour, including a Jul 21 date in Vancouver, after US authorities denied him a visa because of legal troubles in the UK.
George, who was also scheduled to play in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary, was arrested last year on charges of falsely imprisoning a male escort and chaining him to a wall in his east London flat in April 2007, according to media reports. The reports identified the escort as 28-year-old Norwegian Auden Carlsen.
George, who was released on bail, pleaded not guilty in February.
Aleix Martinez, spokesperson for George’s New York-based publicist Girlie Action, told Xtra West that the US denied his visa because of a pending court case in London in November.
“Obviously, visa records are confidential. But I’d simply note that there often are difficulties for individuals who either are currently subject to criminal charges or otherwise may have criminal records,” State Department spokesperson Tom Casey said in a press briefing Jun 24. “So I think you might want to look toward some of those reasons as why he might be having some difficulties here.”
Martinez notes that George has “no restrictions on travelling.”
The decision to deny George a visa was appealed, adds Martinez, but to no avail.
Martinez says no attempt was made to contact Canadian border authorities; instead the singer simply opted to postpone his whole North American tour. “We issued just a statement directly from Boy George and his management.”
In that undated statement, George is quoted as saying that he hoped that “some kind soul at the US Visa Office” would take its cue from the UK authorities who “placed no restrictions” on his movements.
“I am very sorry that I will not see all my American fans this year, but I wish them a happy and healthy Fourth of July. I include the Visa Office in those good wishes and realize they’re doing a very difficult job and I just got unlucky,” George says in the statement put out by Girlie Action.
George is still expected to tour the United Kingdom, beginning with a show on Aug 31 in Strathclyde, Scotland, and ending in Brighton, England, on Nov 2. He is also scheduled to continue with a South American tour in September.
Martinez says the singer’s North American dates will be rescheduled for winter 2009.