Accident-prone Akon - the Frank Spencer of mid-market sludge & B - has now managed to upset an entire religion. And a nation.
Sri Lanka is bloody angry with him:
Sri Lanka has refused to issue a visa to Akon, the Senegalese-American singer and rapper who is due to perform there next month, after Buddhist activists took offence at one of his music videos.
They said that the video for Akon’s song Sexy Bitch, which features bikini-clad women dancing in front of a statue of the Buddha in Ibiza, had offended members of the Sinhalese ethnic majority, which is mainly Buddhist.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters stormed the head offices of the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television Network, the concert’s media sponsor, injuring four employees, smashing windows and damaging parked cars.
There is, of course, an "I hate Akon" Facebook group - although given there's an "I hate" everything Facebook, that's not really significant.
Akon - who is skilled at issuing apologies - flicked through the file past papers headed 'I had no idea she was underage', 'Who knew there were those vouchers there' and 'God, are you telling me it was actually loaded?' to come up with the one marked 'Religion (general enragement of)':
“I was not aware that the statue was even on the set of the video until now. I would never set out to offend or desecrate anyone’s religion or religious beliefs,” Akon said in a statement. “I myself am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended, but violence is never the answer and I am disheartened."
Yes, Akon, trying to placate the Buddhists by claiming that you never spotted there was a massive Buddha in the background while simultaneously claiming yourself to be spiritual. Why wouldn't that work?
To be fair to Akon, The Times' Jeremy Page suggests that this story might be more about an accident-prone children's entertainer:
The decision to bar Akon also raises concerns about the independence of the media in Sri Lanka. Maharaja [the network who played the video which caused the trouble] is one of the few large media organisations backing the Opposition before parliamentary elections on April 8.
Akon might just be an pawn in a greater game that he has no understanding of. Again.