Controversial rapper Eminem performed his first British concert Thursday night in Manchester, drawing both a sold-out crowd and a vocal group of protesters, reports Reuters. The capacity audience of 15,500 was greeted by gay rights activists and women’s groups carrying signs and chanting, “Eminem, you’re not funny, you oppress us to make money.” “The basic reason why we organized the protest is the fact that Eminem’s lyrics are not only homophobic, they are also misogynistic,” said Vicki Austin, National Union of Students gay and lesbian campaigner. “We’re not suggesting that the concert either shouldn’t go ahead or should be banned or shouldn’t be going on in Manchester. What we are saying is that we think people should be aware of what the lyrics contain.”
The Scottish Daily Record also noted that Eminem canceled his plans to stay in a hotel near Manchester’s gay district for fear of attack and instead flew directly to London after Thursday’s concert. OutRage!’s Peter Tatchell told the paper that Eminem and the fans who copy his style look like gay men: “If Eminem is so antigay, why does he dress like a gay man? He’s got tattoos, cropped bleached hair, and wears a white [tank top]. When I see someone like that, I would think they are gay. There is no evidence he is gay, but his image and lyrics make me wonder.” Tatchell added that Eminem’s decision not to stay overnight in Manchester was “an act of blatant homophobia,” adding, “No normal heterosexual man would be worried about staying five minutes away from a gay area. Nobody would have attacked him.” Eminem will be performing a duet with out superstar Sir Elton John at the Grammy Awards on February 21 in Los Angeles.