Canada to Eminem: Keep Out!

Canadian politicians try to halt rapper's concert in Toronto

By Josh Grossberg Oct 26, 2000 5:30 PMTags
Will the real Slim Shady please go away?

That's what politicians from Ontario, Canada are hoping as rap's bad boy of the moment, Eminem, prepares to grace the stage at the SkyDome in Toronto Thursday night.

Addressing reporters Wednesday, the province's attorney general, Jim Flaherty, declared his office's intention to try and stop the rapper from performing in the 60,000-seat indoor baseball stadium as part of the "Anger Management" tour with Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach. Flaherty wants to nix Em because of his oft-misogynistic raps.

There's one snag, eh. Because Canada's hate-crime legislation does not include provisions covering violence against women, the right-leaning attorney general acknowledged it's unlikely government lawyers will actually be able to prevent him from participating.

Nevertheless, Flaherty is asking federal immigration officials for help in keeping the rhymer, whose given name is Marshall Mathers III, from crossing into the Great White North. "The federal government is looking into the status of [Eminem] entering Canada with the possibility that [he] would come here and advocate violence against women," Flaherty says.

The rapper's camp, however, denies the accusations and, in true show-biz style, says the show will go on. "Eminem's plan is to entertain his fans, and people who don't like it don't have to go," says Interscope Records rep Dennis Dennehy.

This latest bit of Eminem-inspired controversy was ignited after a Canadian woman downloaded the Detroit hip-hopster's lyrics from the Internet and then filed a complaint with Toronto police's hate crimes unit. In her complaint, Valerie Smith asserts Eminem's derogatory ditty, "Kill You," promotes violence against women and violated Canada's hate crimes law.

"His lyrics seem to be a little bit over the line," Smith tells Reuters. "One example is 'I invented violence you vile, venomous, vomital bitches.' If you replace the gender insult with racial insults, you get hate propaganda."

A real romantic at heart, Eminem also talks about murdering his estranged wife, Kim Mathers, in the song "Kim"--rhyming in great detail about killing her and dumping her body in the trunk of a car.

Ironically, despite the brewing controversy, the rapper has already performed twice in Toronto in the past two years with little fanfare.

It's been a long year for Eminem. Sure, his two albums, The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP, have reached multiplatinum status and garnered a handful of MTV Music Video Awards, but for all his success, he's been dogged by womens and gay-rights groups for his R-rated raps, and gotten into plenty of trouble for his off-stage antics.

In June, he was busted for allegedly pistol-whipping a man after seeing him kiss Kim outside a nightclub. He was charged with felony weapon and assault charges and is scheduled for another preliminary hearing on December 8. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted, in addition to a lawsuit from the man he is accused of attacking.

His home life hasn't been too peachy, either: Kim, who tried to commit suicide in July, sued him for $10 millon for defaming her in his raps (he later settled out of court), and, in August, he filed for divorce, agreeing to give her custody of their young daughter. He's still facing a multimillion-dollar defamation suit brought by his own mother.

In the meantime, Kim entered a guilty plea Tuesday in a Michigan court to charges of disturbing the peace for her part in the nightclub incident. She was sentenced to 11 months' probation and counseling classes, fined $50 and ordered to refrain from consuming alcohol.