Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett sent a letter on July 18 to the Fillmore Theater in Silver Spring, Md., asking its manager to cancel a performance next month by a Mexican band that includes anti-gay lyrics in several of its songs.
Leggett’s letter followed concerns expressed by LGBT activists that the hip-hop group Molotov uses lyrics in Spanish that are interpreted widely to mean “faggot,” including a phrase “kill the faggot.” Activists call the lyrics hurtful to the LGBT community and have warned that they could encourage anti-LGBT violence.
“I have serious concerns about this booking,” Leggett told the Fillmore’s general manager, Stephanie Steele, in his letter. “I am personally offended. I understand that the First Amendment provides for freedom of speech, and that even distasteful speech may be protected speech,” he said.
But he added, “Just because one might argue that everyone has the right to say, show, or sing something doesn’t mean they ought to exercise that right…In addition to expressing my displeasure I would ask you to reconsider the Fillmore’s decision to book the Molotov band.”
The theater and the California-based company that owns it, Live Nation Entertainment, have not responded to calls from the Washington Blade seeking comment on the controversy. The Washington Post reported that Steele did not respond to its request for comment for a Post story on the controversy last week.
But according to the Post, Live Nation spokesperson Jim Yeager said the performance by Molotov scheduled for Aug. 26 would not be cancelled.
Members of Molotov and its supporters have argued that the controversial lyrics, including the Spanish words “puto” and “maricon” that many interpret as slurs against gay men, are meant to target corrupt politicians in Mexico, not gay people.
A spokesperson for the LGBT organization Equality Maryland said the group is considering staging an “informational” protest outside the theater on the night of the performance.
A petition posted on the website change.org by local gay activist and attorney Gabriel Rodriguez-Rico, calls on the Fillmore Silver Spring to “not provide a stage for violently anti-gay messages.”
Donna Biggler, a spokesperson for Leggett, said the Fillmore had not responded to Leggett’s letter as of Tuesday.