James Taylor cancels Manila concert over Duterte's drug war

In this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, file photo, musician James Taylor performs in Manchester, New Hampshire. James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila, saying he finds reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines without judicial proceedings “deeply concerning and unacceptable.” (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

MANILA, Philippines — James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila, saying reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines without judicial proceedings are "deeply concerning and unacceptable."

The American singer-songwriter tweeted Wednesday that he had been looking forward to performing in Manila and that it saddened him to cancel the concert. He apologized to his Filipino fans and said all tickets sold for the Feb. 25 performance at Manila's Mall of Asia Arena would be fully refunded.

Taylor said his scheduled concerts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand would not be affected.

Since taking office in June, President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen a crackdown on illegal drugs that has left more than 6,000 people dead, alarming Western governments and human rights watchdogs. Philippine government officials have defended police actions during the crackdown.

While acknowledging that drug addiction is a worldwide problem that seriously harms society, Taylor criticized the anti-drug campaign.

"For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable," Taylor tweeted. "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."

Dozens of tweets from people reacting to Taylor's message praised the musician and voiced respect for his stand. Others urged other artists to follow his lead, while a handful of Duterte supporters said Taylor should see the situation for himself instead of basing his opinion only on media reports.

Must Read

The Latest: Trump vows to change 'one-side and...

Nov 9, 2017

President Donald Trump is vowing to change "one-sided and unfair" trade relations with China but...

Pharrell Williams sounds warning about climate...

Nov 15, 2017

Grammy winner Pharrell Williams sounds warning about climate change with song titled "100 Years"

China's 2017 movie ticket sales rise 13.5 percent

Jan 1, 2018

Domestic movie ticket sales rose 13.5 percent in 2017 in China, the world's second-biggest global...

Red Square, Bangkok temple among ice festival...

Jan 5, 2018

Ice sculptures of Moscow's Red Square and Bangkok's Temple of the Emerald Buddha are among...

Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang denies sexual...

Jan 17, 2018

Well-known Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang has vehemently denied rumors of sexual misconduct by him

Sign up now!

Advertisement