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    Russell Brand Cancels Middle East Shows Over Extremist Threats

    Russell Brand Jason Merritt/Getty Images

    Russell Brand has a Messiah Complex—not a martyr complex.

    The British comedian has canceled shows in Lebanon and Abu Dhabi after the venues where he was scheduled to perform informed him that they could no longer guarantee his safety.

    "Those gigs have been banned, pulled because of threats from extremists that if I went there there would be problems," Brand told the BBC's Radio 5 Live.

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    He told host Richard Bacon that his hirsute look on the promotional poster for his upcoming Messiah Complex World Tour—which was supposed to kick off in Abu Dhabi—may have had something to do with it.

    "The image by the brilliant artist Shepard Fairey depicts me as looking a little Christ-like...so there's an indication that it might be offensive," Brand said. "If you are in some sort of fundamentalist group and Google my name and watch a few things on YouTube you might just think 'don't bother having him here.'"

    And not just Brand! Some incarnations of the poster promise that Jesus Christ, Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Hitler are also featured in the production.

    The Messiah Complex will now skip the Middle East entirely and instead stick to the U.S., Canada, South Africa and Europe. The first date listed on Ticketmaster at the moment is July 27 in Lake Tahoe, Nev., and his tour is scheduled to wrap up Dec. 9 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

    Russell Brand, Messiah Complex Tour Messiah Complex

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