Some George Washington University students have expressed frustration with the student-run program board’s decision to book controversial New York rapper Action Bronson for its April 2 “Spring Fling” concert.
Bronson—who is also known for starring in Vice Media’s food and travel show Fuck, That’s Delicious—has written a transphobic post on Instragram and wrote the 2011 song “Consensual Rape,” in which he compares a woman’s body to “ostrich meat” while fantasizing about exploiting her for sex and murdering her. The song inspired 44,125 people to successfully petition a Canadian festival to drop him from their bill.
While GW students haven’t banded together in similar numbers (the school estimates it has about 25,000 students overall) since Spring Fling was announced last Friday, Bronson’s reputation has nonetheless been a contentious topic on campus this week. University organization GW Students Against Sexual Assault shared a statement on Facebook that offered support and counseling to any survivors of sexual assault who might be upset by the booking, and students have started a petition asking university president Steven Knapp to get Bronson cut from the show. The GW Hatchet has also been critical of the booking; a recent editorial from opinions editor Sarah Blugis blasted the school’s blatant disregard for Bronson’s vulgarity, calling on student leaders to step up and protest.
I have a hard time understanding any possible justification for bringing Bronson to GW, especially given the importance students here place on progressive advocacy. Sexual assault prevention and LGBT inclusivity are two of the most prominent issues on campus, yet Bronson is the antithesis of those two causes. Choosing Bronson blatantly ignores survivors on our campus – as well as all the prevention advocacy students have spent so much time on over the last several years.
Others strafed the booking on Twitter:
GW celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month by hiring Action Bronson for Spring Fling, who has a song about “consensual rape.” #OnlyAtGW
— Maddi Long (@madisonlong34) March 29, 2016
ok but action bronson is literally disgusting can he not be the spring fling headliner
— high end hetero (@Marximillion_) March 28, 2016
Wanna tell GW that hiring a man (who promotes rape, violence & transphobia) for spring fling was misguided? You can! https://t.co/WtJLZdcVle
— Emily M (@emilynm41) March 29, 2016
So far, Blugis’s pleas have gone unfulfilled. On Monday, the school’s program board responded to the chatter in a short Facebook post that simply stated they do not condone the message in “Consensual Rape” and that Bronson promises not to play the song at Spring Fling. They made no suggestion that his headlining slot was up for reconsideration.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said it was GWU’s decision to book Bronson, while in fact it was the decision of the student-run programming board.