At the start of September it was reported that legendary rock band Bon Jovi was to have their gigs in China cancelled. At the time, no reason was given for cancelling these gigs, however it has since been reported that the country’ Culture Minister discovered the band had performed with a stage backdrop of a Tibetan monk during a 2010 gig in Taiwan, alongside tweets about the Dalai Lama.
Chinese leaders have previously described the spiritual leader as a “splittist” and a “wolf in monk’s robes” and are known for refusing entry to many who have publicly shown allegiance. Bjork is been banned from China for life following her 2008 performance in Shanghai when during her song “Declare Independence” she began chanting ‘Tibet, Tibet’. Since then, punk rock band Linkin Park sparked trouble and were banned in 2011 when they attended a conference in Los Angeles and were pictured with the Dalai Lama.
These are not the only performers to face banishment. Some of this list have been banned for the dumbest of reasons. Check out these Top 11 Artists that have been banned from entering certain countries.
11. Madonna – Kabbalah Denied In Egypt
The Queen of Pop is no stranger to controversy, so it must have come as little surprise that she is banned from somewhere. In 2004, Madge was banned from Egypt by the Egyptian Parliament due to her devotion to the Kabbalah (noticed the red string on her wrist) and following a pilgrimage she made to Israel to celebrate the Jewish New Year. The two countries have had a famously troubled history. Bizarrely, it wasn’t Madonna’s usual sexual explicit lyrics, erotic dance routines or skimpy outfits that landed her in trouble.
Considering she has released songs such as ‘Like a Virgin’ and ‘Erotica’ with lyrics like ‘erotic, erotic, put your hands all over my body’ and produced music videos such as the ‘Like a Prayer’ video that controversially featured a black Jesus, it is a miracle she hasn’t been banned from more countries.
10. Miley Cyrus – Racist Miley
As if twerking wasn’t enough to get anybody banned from anywhere, in 2009 the Hannah Montana star was banned from performing in China due to a leaked photo the showed her pulling a racist pose with friends. Not only that, but there was also a ban on any of her TV show or films being shown and the sale of any merchandise. A Chinese official stated that it was ‘obvious that Miley is no friend of China. We have no interest in further polluting our children’s minds with her American ignorance.” Oops.
This was not the first time Miley has gotten herself into trouble. In 2014 Miley was banned from performing in the Dominican Republic on morality grounds. Officials stated that her ban was due to her “often performing acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican Law.”
9. Lady Gaga – Spreading Satanic Teachings In Indonesia?
This alternative pop princess has built her career on individuality and controversy and has often been compared to Madonna in her attitude. But the similarities go further than that. In 2012 the ‘Poker Face’ singer was banned from performing in Indonesia. Indonesian authorities believed her provocative and unorthodox clothing and ‘Just Dance’ moves would corrupt the nation’s youth. There were even Islamic Defenders’ Front protesters who threatened to stop Lady Gaga getting off the plane.
Islamic groups in the country opposed her “vulgar” style and expressed concern that she purported herself to be the devil’s child, spreading satanic teachings. This isn’t the first time her religious statements have caused issue. Her album Born This Way was banned in the Lebanon due to its insults to Christianity and its “bad taste.” The single ‘Judas’ had already been banned from being played on Lebanese radio stations. But how can they blame her? She was born this way, after all.
8. Boy George – Banned In The Usa For Alleged Imprisonment Of Male Escort
The British 80s pop star, famous for being the lead of the band Culture Club was banned from performing in the USA in 2008. Boy George‘s visa application was denied when he was due to play at the City of New York Department of Sanitation’s annual Fun Day. The irony being he was due to play there as a thank you to all the workers for the kindness they showed him when he served community service with them back in 2006 when he was charged for falsely reporting a burglary.
Boy George had his visa refused due to him awaiting to stand trial for a crime that took place in 2007 where he was accused of imprisoning a male escort. Boy George was reportedly devastated stating “having my visa application denied seems unfair when I swept the streets of New York spotless.” Maybe he should re-listen to his hit ‘Karma Chameleon.’
7. Oasis – Banned In China
This British band was infamous for speaking their minds and insulting people, not least of all each other. The Manchurian band who have had a number of public bust ups were banned from performing in China back in 2009. It was reported that the ban came about because Noel Gallagher, one of the lead singers in the band, had performed in a Free Tibet Benefit Concert in Randall’s Island in New York in 1997.
Chinese officials stated this made the band “unsuitable to perform.” The band were promoting their eighth album, Dig Out Your Soul and had to cancel two gigs on their tour, one at Beijing’s Capital Arena and one at the Shanghai Grand Stage. Ticket sales were stopped mid sale and all those that had purchased tickets were refunded.
6. Justin Bieber – Banned in Argentina
Yet another of the countdown members that is surrounded by controversy most of the time. There have been a number of high profile incidents involving this once innocent-faced chart topper. Justin Bieber hit the news for spitting on fans, for taking part in a Fast and Furious-style race in a flash car and for leaking some rather naughty pictures of himself.
More recently, he caused aggravation in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he reportedly sent bodyguards to attack photographer Diego Pesoa outside a Buenos Aires nightclub. There is now a warrant out for his arrest should he set foot in Argentina. Judge Alberto Julio Banos has ordered the immediate detention of Bieber and the bodyguards involved. The law in Argentina means Bieber could be facing 1 month to 6 years in prison should he enter the South American country.
5. Jay Z – China Offended By His Lyrics
The Beyonce-betrothed music star is known for his rap lyrics. As we know from the likes of Eminem, rap lyrics tend to be a tad on the controversial side. Jay Z is no different and concert promoter Sun Yun stated that Chinese Ministry of Culture reasoned “vulgar language” as the reason for not allowing the concert to go ahead. It has been rumoured that references to drug dealers, pimps, violence and guns were the vulgar lyrics that offended the authorities.
In the same year, a gig by The Rolling Stones was censored by the Chinese authorities, with the band being asked to refrain from playing songs with suggestive lyrics. Officials stated they were protecting the cities’children from the inappropriate lyrics by cancelling Jay Z’s concert at the Shanghai Hongkou Stadium. Bizarrely, that same year The Black Eyed Peas were allowed to perform their gig, which also included sexually suggestive lyrics.
4. Amy Winehouse – Banned In The USA
Given Amy’s prolific drug and alcohol abuse it comes as little surprise that somewhere along the line this would affect her entry into one country or another. In 2008, Amy was due to appear at the Grammy Awards in the USA as she was nominated for an award in six categories. Sadly, for Amy, her visa application was denied by the American Embassy in London due to her ongoing issues with drug misuse.
One significant factor in the decision was thought to be her arrest in Norway in 2007 for possession of cannabis, as she had no convictions for drugs in the UK. There had also been footage released of Amy smoking crack cocaine. Rather than perform her duet with Kanye West (the most random pairing of musicians we have heard of in quite some time), Amy performed from London via satellite. At the time, Amy was staying in a rehabilitation clinic to work on her drug issues.
3. Elton John – Sexual Freedom Advocacy In Egypt Denied
The bespectacled British icon has had his share of headlines. In 2010, the ‘Rocket Man’ hit the headlines when a private show in Egypt was cancelled. The reasoning behind the cancelling of the show was related to Elton having been quoted as saying Jesus was a “super intelligent gay man” in an interview with an American magazine. The head of Egypt’s Musician Union, Mounir al-Wasimi stated the country would not allow “a homosexual who wants to ban religions, claimed the prophet Issa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom” to perform there. Elton had stated “I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.” The flamboyant performer has been vocal in his derision of how gay people are treated in the Middle Eastern countries and this has been received with contempt by the countries concerned.
2. Beyonce – Put Your Clothes On, Says Malaysia
This one may be cheating a little. Beyonce was not banned from the country, instead she refused to cover up in order to meet the countries requirements. Malaysia’s official guidelines state that female performers must cover up from the top of the chest to the knees – something we are not sure Beyonce has ever accomplished. Along with the rules regarding attire, performers are also forbidden from jumping, shouting or embracing members of the audience. This takes out 95 percent of Beyonces show.
Razian Ahmad Razali, the chairman of the Malaysian Promoter Pineapple Concerts expressed disappointment and frustration at Beyonce’s decision. Weeks earlier, Gwen Stefani had been forced to cover up in sober outfits to abide by the country’strict regulations, stating it was a ‘major sacrifice’. Both Mariah Carey and Avril Lavigne have succumbed to the country’ laws and have had to dress more conservatively with Mariah Carey performing in jeans and t-shirt during her 2004 show at Stadium Meredeka in protest.
1. Maroon 5 – China Prohibits Dalai Lama Love
Earlier this year Maroon 5 were due to play gigs in Beijing and Shanghai, however news soon broke that the gigs had been cancelled. Although a reason wasn’t expressed, it was rumored that it may have been related to certain members of the band having met exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama. Jesse Carmichael, the bands keyboard player, had also wished the Dalai Lama a happy 80th birthday on Twitter.
The China office of the US promoter Live Nation did not confirm any reasoning for the decision. The sensitivity regarding live concerts had been increased since the 2008 incident in which Bjork started chanting ‘Tibet’ during her live performance of ‘Declare Independence.’ The country has also previously vetoed the song ‘Honky Tonk Women’ from a live performance by The Rolling Stones. International music artists are required to submit set lists for their performances in advance for major concerts so that authorities can censor content that is deemed politically sensitive or obscene.