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Indonesian police consider toned-down Gaga show

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Muslim men shout slogans during a rally against US pop singer Lady Gaga's concert that is scheduled to be held on June 3, outside the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, May 25, 2012. Lady Gaga might have to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia because police worry her sexy clothes and dance moves undermine Islamic values and will corrupt the country's youth. AP PHOTO/DITA ALANGKARA

JAKARTA—Police in Indonesia, after refusing a permit for Lady Gaga to perform in Jakarta, said Friday they were considering an offer from her local promoters to tone down the pop superstar’s racy show.

However, while the promoters indicated that a deal was being hammered out, Lady Gaga’s own management has vowed no compromise to appease religious conservatives or censors.

Jakarta police said last week they would not give a green light to the June 3 show after Islamic hardliners threatened chaos if the singer entered Indonesia, meaning she has so far been unable to obtain a permit to perform.

“We have received a document outlining an agreement by the promoters Big Daddy, which says Lady Gaga’s concert will respect Indonesian culture,” Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, told AFP.

He said the police would evaluate the offer and if they agreed with all the terms, they hoped to sign it Friday and forward it to the national police.

“They said that Lady Gaga would wear more appropriate clothes and change some of her lyrics and dance moves in a way that will be acceptable in Indonesia,” he said.

The promoters of the US performer’s “The Born This Way Ball” show in Jakarta have sold more than 50,000 tickets, and Indonesian fans are outraged that the event might not go ahead.

While Big Daddy did not confirm an actual offer to the police, the promoters said they were working with “related parties” to come up with a solution.

“If a permit for the concert in Jakarta is issued, Lady Gaga’s party is committed to respecting the local culture and values in Indonesia,” Big Daddy spokesman Arif Ramadhoni told reporters.

However, the star’s manager Troy Carter said in Singapore on Thursday that Lady Gaga would not tone down any upcoming concerts, after protests from religious hardliners also in the Philippines and South Korea.

He said the 26-year-old singer, whose global hits include “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” would rather cancel shows than make enforced changes to her flamboyant act.

Asked specifically whether she was prepared to compromise on issues like her wardrobe in Indonesia, Carter said: “That’s not actually true.

“I think that’s something that the promoters and the organizers that they want to offer to the religious groups. But you know the religious groups, they basically don’t want her stepping foot on the soil,” he said.

“We play the show as it is. It’s a very specific show, it’s a very specific audience.”

Lady Gaga is in Bangkok Friday for her latest concert, and her management team could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Indonesia’s national police force, which has the authority to issue the permit, said last week it would not grant Lady Gaga permission to perform without the Jakarta police’s approval.

Several religious organizations have opposed the concert. The hardline Islamic Defenders Front vowed to round up 30,000 protestors if the singer, a vocal advocate for gay rights, tries to enter the country.

But the police decision last week was met with a public backlash, with critics accusing authorities of buckling to bigotry and intolerance.

It has also triggered debate among the country’s leaders on foreign influences on Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Ninety percent of its 240 million people identify themselves as Muslim.

After Bangkok on Friday, Lady Gaga will play three shows in Singapore next week. She was due to play in Jakarta after that, before flying south to New Zealand and Australia, and then to Europe.


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