GLAAD Arrives Late to the Capleton Reggae Boycott. And Ignores Its Very Vocal Informant

Capleton, a Jamaican dancehall star who, like Buju Banton, includes anti-gay lyrics in his songs, and signed off on the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007, is watching his American concert tour begin to crumble after international pressure from grassroots activists had venues realizing just where their profits were about to come from. That is, from a guy who sings “shoulda know seh Capleton bun battyman, dem same fire apply to di lesbian” (“you should know that Capleton burns queers, the same fire applies to lesbians”). And now, GLAAD is on the case, issuing a call to action to generate further support for getting Capleton’s dates killed. Which is great news, but also has San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis upset the group isn’t even crediting how they found out about someone making a career off gay hatred.

In the U.S., GLAAD credits the group Humboldt Against Hate for a California concert cancellation of Capleton; Humboldt Against Hate was also involved in nixing Banton’s American tour dates. In its “act now” release alerting members what they can do to help the boycott, the org writes, “GLAAD was alerted this weekend that Capleton, a reggae singer who promotes violence against the LGBT community in his lyrics, has planned multiple concerts in California, Nevada and Florida in the coming weeks.”

But who alerted GLAAD? Petrelis, who actually met with Banton in October only to see the reggae artist renege on the pledge he made, writes in in an letter to GLAAD chief Jarrett Barrious and entertainment media manager Jonathan Rosales (that Queerty was CC’d on):

a friend just told me about your GLAAD blog post regarding the upcoming concerts by hate singer capleton. sure, i’m pleased your org is paying attention to the concerts, and that you gave praise to the activists in humboldt who got a concert canceled, but you omitted the work of other activists.

it was one week ago that i started beating the drum about the concerts, and published to my blog the concerns of peter tatchell:

first, this project against capleton’s CA/USA tour started because of peter tatchell in london. he’s done a lot of the research on this hate singer, and alerted me to the tour. second, i got the ball rolling here with some blog posts that included much info about the concerts, promoters, web links, etc.

i’m real curious to learn why GLAAD can’t give any recognition to the work peter and i have done about capleton’s tour. you say you were contacted this weekend about hte tour, yet fail to say by whom. i believe my emails to barrios and ferraro may be what you’re referring to.

also, your alert talks about expanding the movement against capleton’s concerts. um, if it’s a movement that the humboldt folks are a part of, how about giving some small credit to the other activists who started this movement, from the UK and USA?

it’s very sad to see GLAAD ignore the volunteer activism others.

Worth noting: In addition to Tatchell, the latest round of protests of Capleton originate with Swiss gay rights groups.

Does it matter how GLAAD found out about Capleton? Only if you care just how your donations to the organization are used.

But what GLAAD is useful for is mobilizing its base; its call to action should generate a flurry of emails and phone calls to the venue, requesting Capleton’s dates be canceled. That type of activism is effective, and useful, no matter where the information comes from. But yeah, give the grassroots guys their due, because without them Capleton would be depositing more of Americans’ cash in his coffers.

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