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Monday, 5 February, 2001, 10:16 GMT
Gay activists target Eminem
Eminem flies into the UK this week
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has accused controversial US rap star Eminem of promoting prejudice against homosexuals.

Eminem, 28 - who has been both hailed and severely criticised for his edgy, violent lyrics - is flying to Britain this week to perform at three concerts.

On Sunday, Tatchell - who fronts the protest group Outrage! - said he and other gay activists wanted to stage demonstrations against Eminem's "homophobia".

Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell wants to stage demonstrations at Eminem's concerts
"His homophobic jibes help make bigotry cool and acceptable," he said.

"He is deliberately avoiding public enagagements in order to deny us a chance to confront him.

"It is very difficult to do anything at the concerts as security is so tight."

Eminem's tracks include Stan - about an obsessed music fan who drowns his girlfriend.

In Role Model, his alter ego Slim Shady talks about hitting his mother with a shovel.

And in another track, the performer, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, includes lines about putting fear into and killing "faggots".

'I don't like his lyrics'

But the star's grandmother spoke out in defence of her grandson ahead of his mini-tour of the UK.

"No I do not think he's a bad boy, I love my grandson," said Betty Kresin, interviewed from Missouri on GMTV on Monday.

However, she did add that she did not approve of all of his work.

"I don't like his lyrics but he's not the only one in rap that's got these lyrics," she added.

Eminem with his opening chainsaw act
In the US, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has also criticised the singer and accused him of sexism and homophobia.

They are also angry that Eminem has been nominated for four awards at the Grammys.

They are joined by the San Francisco-based Family Violence Prevention Fund which has launched a "No to Eminem" campaign to keep him away from the awards ceremony on 21 February.

Last week, Eminem's records were banned from Sheffield University's students' union, following complaints from students about the his anti-gay lyrics.

Chainsaw act

But Eminem also has an undoubtedly large following among young music fans. His album Marshall Mathers has sold 10 million copies worldwide.

He plays his first British concert at Manchester on Thursday before playing two dates in London.

However, there is some doubt over whether he will be able to start his first concert with his notorious Texas Chainsaw Massacre act.

Manchester city council has said that if he brings a chainsaw on stage it must be switched off to comply with health and safety regulations.

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See also:

01 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Student ban for Eminem
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Grammys defend Eminem nominations
03 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Rappers lead Grammys list
27 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Eminem '2000's best album'
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