A week after Eminem faced accusations of violating Canadian hate speech laws, a group of 10 University of Illinois students is alleging that the rapper's music violates similar codes at the school. Sonicnet.com reports Eminem is scheduled to perform at the university's Urbana-Champaign campus on Thursday as part of the Anger Management Tour with Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach and Xzibit, but the student group is urging university officials to cancel the show.
"We believe that [Eminem's] lyrics are a form of harassment categorically on the basis of sexual orientation and sex," Nick Sakurai, the group's leader, said on Wednesday. An Eminem performance would violate University of Illinois rules that prohibit discrimination or harassment because of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, according to Sakurai.
A university spokesperson did not return calls for comment, but Sakurai said school officials told his group that they have no plans to cancel the show. Eminem spokesperson Dennis Dennehy said, "On the eve of this election day, it's heartwarming to know that everyone on both sides of the equation will be exercising their First Amendment rights."
Assuming the show goes on, Sakurai's group has asked the university to donate a portion of its proceeds to gay, lesbian and women's groups.The group cites the lines "My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge/ That'll stab you in the head /Whether you're a fag or lez' from the Eminem song "Criminal" as particularly objectionable.
The students also point to "Kill You," another track from Eminem's multiplatinum The Marshall Mathers LP. "Slut, you think I won't choke no whore/ Till her vocal cords don't work in her throat no more," Eminem raps on the song, which includes the refrain, "Bitch, I'm a kill you." The group has begun an online petition against the concert at www.dayofsilence.org.
Also citing "Kill You," Toronto resident Valerie Smith filed a criminal complaint against Eminem last month, alleging that his lyrics violate Canadian hate crime laws. That led to unsuccessful efforts to keep Eminem from entering the country to perform at the Toronto Skydome.
Since the May release of "The Marshall Mathers LP," Eminem (born Marshall Mathers) has repeatedly faced accusations of homophobia and misogyny. In response to such criticism, the rapper has said that his lyrics shouldn't be taken literally.