Singer Akon has postponed his April concert in Sri Lanka after the island nation's government said they planned to deny his visa on Tuesday.
The protestors were incited by Akon's video, "Sexy Chick," the #3 hit song he recorded for Dave Guetta's One Love album.
The video features bikini-clad women dancing suggestively in front of a Buddha statue during a pool scene. The clip "triggered a lot of disappointment among Buddhists all over the world," a government spokesperson said in a statement.
(See the statue in the video below at 1:00, 1:43 and 1:50.)
Online dissension emerged as well. The "We Hate Akon" pageon Facebook has more than 12,000 members. They posted a flyer (right) featuringscreenshots of controversial images from the video.
"I was not aware that the statue was even on the set of the video until now," Akon said in a statement Wednesday. "I would never set out to offend or desecrate anyone's religion or religious beliefs."
More than 60 percent of Sri Lanka's population is Buddhist. The nation's Buddhist clergy are influential, and protestors have previously resorted to violence when they felt disrespect had been shown towards the religion.
"I myself am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended," the singer added. "But violence is never the answer and I am disheartened."
American Talent Agency, Akon's international booking company, is hopeful the singer's concert will still happen.
"Akon is looking forward to performing for the people of Sri Lanka and we hope to have this situation resolved in the coming weeks," the firm said in a statement.
- Sri Lanka
- Capital Maharaja