American singer-songwriter James Taylor has cancelled his Manila concert slated for February 25, 2016
The five-time Grammy winner was originally scheduled to perform in James Taylor and His All-star Band Concert at the Mall of Asia Arena, where he’d wrap up his Asia visit.
Taylor cites Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s draconian campaign against illegal drugs as a reason “to make a political stand.”
“Recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law,” he wrote on Wednesday.
It isn’t a secret to fans of the folk rock legend that Taylor himself suffered from heroin addiction since the early days of his life and did not get sober until he was 36.
The concert cancellation will have no effect on show dates in Singapore (Feb 21) and Hong Kong (Feb 23).
Manila concert promoter Ovation Productions will offer ticket holders a full refund. Further announcements will be made shortly.
In the meantime, you can read Taylor’s statement in full below.
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February. So it saddens me to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.
The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.
I offer my heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends but I must now announce that I will not be performing in Manila this February. All tickets sold will, of course, be fully refunded. I am grateful to my promoter, Renen de Guia, for his patience and understanding.
This decision will, in no way, affect my plans to perform as announced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.