Snoop Versus the U.K.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in the coming weeks, a British court will decide once and for all whether to lift a five-year ban preventing rapper Snoop Dogg from entering the United Kingdom. In addition to running an amazing portrait of Snoop, the WSJ goes into great detail on the (somewhat dubious) details of his banishment.

It all started in 2006, when Snoop, né Calvin Broadus, and his entourage of about 30 were denied access to a British Airways first-class lounge at Heathrow Airport. Strong words were exchanged, the police were summoned and some sort of scuffle went down. Apparently Snoop was pushed to the ground in a duty-free shop by officers wielding batons, and he was detained overnight. He was released the next day with a warning for his use of “insulting words.”

Fast-forward to 2010, and after numerous back-and-forths between Snoop’s lawyers and U.K. immigration officials, he is still unable to set foot inside the United Kingdom. Judges claim that the Heathrow incident shows that “when something does go wrong… Mr. Broadus may react badly and may threaten violence” and that his fans are on “the fringes of gang culture.” This appears to be cause enough for Snoop to be denied access to the country. Snoop’s lawyers have appealed numerous times, and finally, after immigration officials watched a video of the Heathrow incident during a day-and-a-half-long hearing this past January, a new ruling is expected in the coming weeks.

While this sounds like something out of a Simpsons episode (namely the one in which Bart gets booted — literally — from Australia), Snoop joins a long list of musicians who have been barred from entering various countries. China has banned Miley Cyrus for what they deemed racist photos featuring her that popped up on the Internet; Bjork and Oasis are banned for their outspoken support of Tibet. The U.S. has put temporary bans on Amy Winehouse (following her assault arrest), M.I.A. (for her supposedly “terrorism-supporting” lyrics), and even the Kinks back in the 1960s (for a union scuffle). But there’s something that just seems so arbitrary, and potentially discriminatory, about the Snoop situation.

Last year, the UK’s home security office very publicly released a “least wanted” list featuring 16 individuals ranging from anti-gay protesters to a radio shock-jock to neo-Nazis who from that point on were barred from entering the U.K. But why pick on Snoop? This comes at a particularly odd time in his career; when Snoop’s been embarking on less “gangster”-like endeavors and more hokey projects. He’s appeared James-Franco-style twice on One Life to Live, he came across as a pretty awesome dad on the short-lived E! reality show Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, and he did a spectacular rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this past December. It’s all very curious.

Posted in Entertainment, Law.

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