Earlier this week, controversial Australian muso Kirin J Callinan was quietly removed from the 2018 Laneway lineup – with no explanation from either the artist or Laneway organisers.
Today, however, details have emerged about the reasons behind his departure, thanks to fellow Laneway artist Miss Blanks.
She spoke to Hack on triple j this afternoon, and confirmed that she had raised concerns with the organisers of Laneway about the wisdom of including Callinan in a festival that says it supports safe spaces.
RE: Kirin J Callinan being removed from Laneway Festival 2018. – Today at 5:30pm, I’ll be on @triplejhack expressing my views on the removal of Kirin J Callinan from the Laneway Festival 2018 lineup. I believe in the importance of a process of accountability which is why I applaud the organisers of Laneway’s decision to remove Kirin J Callinan from the festival lineup. His long and recent history of reckless and insensitive actions reinforces an entitlement which permits Kirin and others like him to dismiss valid issues, and normalises racism, ableism and sexual assault. Amidst the ‘me too’ discussions, it’s important to see preventative actions as well as support systems. I feel good knowing that Laneway Festival are working hard with their artists, including myself, to create a more inclusive and safe space for its talent, staff, and patrons, as well as the introduction of the 1800 Laneway program.
Miss Blanks, a Brisbane rapper and the ambassador for Laneway’s safe space initiative 1800 LANEWAY, told Hack that she was happy about Callinan’s removal, particularly after his use of blackface in the accompanying artwork of his album Bravado, the staging of an epileptic fit at a 2013 festival set, and his infamous flashing on the red carpet at the ARIAs.
I feel good knowing that Laneway are working with myself and other artists to create a more inclusive and safe space for everyone. I expressed [to Laneway organisers] how I felt, they definitely took that on board, and they had internal conversations besides the ones done with me, and it’s led to the decision of Kirin being kicked off the lineup, which is great.
Blanks pointed to Callinan’s apparent lack of remorse – or even acknowledgement of his actions – as further reasons she spoke to Laneway about whether it’d be appropriate to have him perform.
So until that happens, if this means him and others like him don’t get certain opportunities, then that’s just how it is.
Callinan has addressed his removal from the lineup via his Instagram story, saying, “To all the kind & inquisitive folk that’a bin reachin out re Laneway ~ I appreciate the concern & I’ll address this in time, you have my word. As it stands, I will no longer be performing at Laneway this year.“
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Image: Getty Images / Chris Hyde