Big Day Out organisers have backtracked and pulled controversial Jamaican performer Beenie Man out of next year's event.
Gay rights groups expressed outrage at the invitation to the January event in Auckland for Beenie Man, whose lyrics included "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays".
The Big Day Out website today said Beenie Man had renounced those sentiments, had signed the Reggae Compassionate Act in 2007 and had promised stick to "peaceful and humanistic values" at Big Day Out.
However, it said "the depth of feeling and hurt amongst these groups has convinced us that for us to proceed with his Big Day Out appearances was, and would continue to be, divisive amongst our audience members and would mar the enjoyment of the event for many".
A Facebook group had been started this week to protest Beenie Man's participation and boasted more than 900 members as of Thursday.
Gaynz.com content editor Jay Bennie had called on Beenie Man to be axed from the line-up to send a message that homophobia was not acceptable in New Zealand.
"He has come to represent extreme homophobia and a call for violence and murder against gays and lesbians, and so even his presence on the stage brings up that whole image of hatred and violence."