An update provided by the directors of the North By Northeast (NXNE) festival in Toronto states rapper Action Bronson will no longer be performing at Yonge and Dundas Square this June.

“A significant number of Torontonians have indicated their desire to have Action Bronson not perform at the Square,” states the NXNE update.

“As annual guests in this space we feel we must accede to the strong wishes of the community and honour their input. As a result, we will not be presenting Action Bronson at Yonge-Dundas Square, but hopefully we will still be presenting Action Bronson as part of Northby.”

The update comes after a change.org petition against Bronson’s free show amassed over 35,000 signatures in the span of three days. The petition, created by Toronto’s Erica Shiner, criticized Bronson’s lyrics, saying they promoted glorifying “gang-raping women.”

“We [D1] are not moving the Action show because we believe in censoring him or any other artists. In fact, we find the limiting of artistic expression distasteful.” – NXNE

NXNE had initially addressed the petition on its website on Tuesday, stating, “those who are offended by an artist are invited to check out other festival showcases, as NXNE will present hundreds of artists this June.”

However, word of the petition had gained national news attention by Thursday, prompting event organizers to retract their initial statement about the petition and state that Action Bronson is no longer on the bill – for now.

“We remain fundamentally committed to presenting this artist on a Toronto stage,” reads the new statement. “We [D1] are not moving the Action show because we believe in censoring him or any other artists. In fact, we find the limiting of artistic expression distasteful.”

“I’m just kind of surprised that Action Bronson is the one being acted out against considering his [lyrics] are on the lower end of misogynist lyrics in rap.” – Sasha Balazic, Action Bronson fan

Fans of Bronson are still shaking their heads about the decision to remove the artist as a free-of-charge, headline act.

“I’m just kind of surprised that Action Bronson is the one being acted out against considering his [lyrics] are on the lower end of misogynist lyrics in rap,” says Sasha Balazic of Markham, Ontario.

In response, the directors of NXNE say they are trying to organize another Action Bronson concert to take place in Toronto during the festival.

“Hopefully, Action Bronson will accept our invitation to play at another, ticketed venue in the city so the public can decide for themselves if his work has merit,” reads the statement.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Creative Commons