The R‘n’B singer has been denied a visa to perform in the country on April 24 after protests erupted over a music video deemed offensive to the country’s Buddhist population.
Thousands of people protested in the country’s capital, Columbo, on Monday, saying the singer desecrated the image of Buddha in his video for Sexy Chick –– which shows a group of bikini clad women dancing by a pool with a statue of Buddha clearly visible in the background. The protesters hurled stones at the offices of the Maharaja Organisation –– who were sponsoring the concert, also to be held in Colombo –– injuring four workers. Several protesters were later arrested by police.
Confirming that Akon’s visa has been denied, Director-General of Information, Anusha Pelpita, said: “The government has taken into consideration the sensibilities of the Buddhists who have been offended by one of his videos which showed scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.”
He said the main allegation against Akon was that he was “defaming Buddhism in his music videos”.
A statement on Sri Lanka’s official government news portal added: “Apart from this particular controversial video clip, some of Akon’s lyrics are not suitable for public articulation.”
Akon –– who is a polygamist Muslim, and has three wives –– also got into trouble when he outraged an audience in Trinidad last year when he apparently simulated a sexual act when dancing with a 14-year-old girl on stage.
Akon later issued an apology for his actions, saying he didn’t realise she was under 18. –– Contactmusic.