Toronto Diary
2 min

The Facebook-o-sphere saves the day?

Any gay who’s anyone on Facebook seems to have been involved in Fab editor Matt Thomas’sudden war on ‘murder music’ artist Elephant Man, who was announced as a surprise artist at the Celebrity Ball at Circa this coming Sunday as part of the Caribana festival. Elephant Man is a Jamaican dance-hall artist known for several songs that advocate the murder, rape, and beating of gay men and women.

A note Matt published on Facebook alerting people to the imminent arrival of Elephant Man generated more than 100 comments in just under four hours, including from frenzied Circa staff trying to contain the mess. When initial contacts to Circa were dismissed, Matt encouraged people to contact friendly politicians at the municipal, provincial, and federal level, and says he also contacted Immigration Canada, presumably to block Elephant Man from entering Canada. Around four hours into the chaos, Circa announced via Facebook and Twitter that Elephant Man has been removed from the lineup.

But wait, there’s more! Matt wants you to know that another artist, Maino, is performing at a Caribana party in Richmond Hill, and he’s just as homophobic:

I have to say, some of the comments popping up in the facebook-o-sphere do seem to be countering homophobia with, well, with outright racism. Commenters on facebook and other places are making gross generalizations of Jamaican and Caribbean culture, talking about boycotting all of Jamaica, or writing as if homophobia is an exclusively Jamaican phenomenon that doesn’t exist in Canada. Let’s try to keep the debate about the music, ok? It’s not like Xtra hasn’t already covered this ground.

And it’s not just the comment-o-sphere that’s up to this. Stop Murder Music Canada, a coalition that arose in 2007 to organise a boycott and ban on homophobic dance-hall artists even got the support of Egale in its last major push to ban Elephant Man from the country. Which is bizarre, because when (white) Canadian pastors preach violence against gays, Egale is usually all “censorship of any kind is bad.”

Xtra’s usual stance on this topic is anti-censorship, by the way.

In other racially sensitive Facebook-related queer news, queer Toronto jock Josh Levy (whose sexy boxing pictures by Kinked Kenny are currently on display at gay Starbucks, btw) alleges that a Muslim fundamentalist has attacked the World Outgames in Copenhagen. Bizarrely, only the Copenhagen Post and The Advocate so far seem to have picked up the story, but while both acknowledge that this is the second hate-based attack at the Outgames this week, neither says that the attacker was a Muslim fundamentalist and neither gives the attacker’s name.

UPDATE: Josh Levy now acknowledges that neither the identity nor the motives of the attackers has yet been revealed. Andrew Sullivan’s blog, however, links the story to a book for sale on about criticism of Islamic fundamentalism in the west and the Danish cartoon controversy, which appears to be the source of the confusion. Let’s all wait ‘til we find out the motives behind the attack before we jump to any further conclusions. Hey, Danish press corps, wanna get on that, please?

If the coming race war’s got you down, then perhaps you should take a break with a night of comedy. Tomorrow night, local queer comic and aspiring celeb Ian “8-inch” Lynch hosts his monthly dirty comedy night at Fire on the East Side. 6 Gloucester. Doors at 8pm, show at 9pm. $5 cover. I’ll be there. Laughing hysterically. And warning Ian that peanut butter only works with dogs.