BBC News reports that the organizers of the Music of Black Origin awards in the United Kingdom have withdrawn the nominations of reggae stars Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel over the artists' past homophobic lyrics. Organizers had asked the two to apologize for their early songs, which have come under fire from gay rights activists, but neither submitted a written apology to the judging panel. Gay rights group OutRage! had been attempting to mount a boycott of the MOBO awards if the artists were considered for this year's awards.
"The last thing MOBO wants to do is encourage prejudice," said a spokesperson. "MOBO has not yet received written apologies as previously promised. We have therefore alerted the MOBO Academy to this situation, and a decision has been taken to withdraw the nominations for Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel."
OutRage! expressed its approval that the two musicians' nominations for best reggae act would be rescinded. "The singers' refusal to apologize is indicative of their unrepentant violent homophobia," said the group's spokesman, Brett Lock. "We applaud the decision of the MOBOs to drop these artists. Incitement to murder should never be rewarded." OutRage! said that the Vybz Kartel song "Bedroom Slaughteration" and Elephant Man's "We Nuh Like Gay" and "A Nuh Fi Wi Fault" advocated the murder of gays and lesbians. Reggae artist Beenie Man, also under fire for homophobic lyrics in his earlier songs, was not a nominee for best reggae artist this year after organizers of the MOBOs wrote on the public ballot forms that they did not support music that incites antigay violence.