Bad news, Beijing: Maroon 5 canceled two of its scheduled concerts in China in the fall — and the reason may have to do with the group’s controversial tweet regarding the Dalai Lama!
They may be at the tops of the charts around the world, but even Maroon 5 isn’t immune to the effects of a controversial social media post. On July 16, the Grammy award-winning band reportedly called off two of its scheduled tour dates in China after receiving some major backlash from Chinese fans regarding a since-deleted tweet citing the Dalai Lama. See the ‘tweet heard around the world’ here!
The group’s keyboard player Jesse Carmichael landed the band in hot water when he attended, and later tweeted about, the Tibetan spiritual leader’s 80th birthday in the Los Angeles area on July 4. The musician’s post allegedly read: “Happy Birthday America (and The Dalai Lama too) sang happy birthday to his holiness today” – a comment that did not go over well with the group’s Chinese fans. “We hear musings about Maroon 5 being prevented from performing by our political friends up above,” a Time Out Beijing article reads, citing Carmichael’s reported attendance at the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebration, “all an artist needs to get a big X on their visa application.”
For those who don’t know, China is known to have a contentious relationship with the Dalai Lama over his battle for Tibetan independence; the holy figure has lived in exile in India since 1959. Maroon 5 has since canceled both its Shanghai and Beijing shows, though neither they nor Live Nation have yet to make a public statement explaining the change in schedule.
According to reports in China, opinion has been divided on social networking site Weibo, with some fans criticising Carmichael and others insisting no harm was meant. “When it comes to matters of a country’s dignity and territorial claims, there can be no compromise. Musicians should stick to music and do their thing. Why bother with politics?” wrote one passionate user.
Meanwhile, many fans showed disappointment over the cancellation. “I believe Jesse (Carmichael) did not mean any malice,” wrote Qi Chu in a microblog posting. “I also understand the government’s attitude. The fans are the ones who suffer.” Another wrote: “Does attending a friend’s birthday party equal agreeing with his political views?”
Still, the band shouldn’t feel too bad about the kerfuffle, as they are hardly the first musicians to pull out of shows in China for political reasons. Oasis, Bjork and James Blake have all been restricted from touring in China in the past, while Linkin Park was once barred from the country entirely after attending a 2011 youth media conference in Los Angeles where they took photos with his Holiness. Hey, at least Adam and crew are in good company!
What do you think – should Maroon 5 have canceled its shows in China over a tweet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
— Alyssa Montemurro