Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds lashed out at Eminem over his use of the word “faggot” in reference to rapper Tyler the Creator in a track off his new album Kamikaze. Reynolds, a straight Mormon, has made LGBTQ equality and acceptance a personal and professional mission, so his tweets, over a series of four days, are not unexpected.
Tweeted Reynolds: “It’s never ok to say a word that is filled with hate. I don’t care what year you were born in or what meaning it has to you. if it contributes to hate and bigotry then it is hateful. period. there is never an ok time to say the word fa**ot I don’t care who you are.”
He later added: ‘It’s disgusting to be told this is being “overly sensitive” or “millennial”. LGBTQ kids are TAKING THEIR LIVES after being bullied with homophobic slurs. it’s not “sensitive” to take a stand against a word that has been used to spread hate for years.’
Reynolds kept going the following day: “I’ve lived enough of my life remaining silent on these issues because of fear or lack of education. I don’t live in fear anymore. I still have lots to learn. but no. I will not be a silent voice with this platform I have been given.”
He added: “2 things to say 1. in trying to be an ally it it’s v easy for a straight white “famous” man to be lauded as a hero for simply saying a few words and organizing an event. I have done v little and am no hero. I’m not seeking to be one. I want change. Period. 2. I don’t speak for the LGBTQ community. If they want 2 reclaim the word for themselves that is their decision & their’s only. I was only speaking to someone of great influence thinking it’s ok for him to say it time after time for years. It’s not and with that I’m done on this….at our show in Russia hundreds of fans held up rainbow flags during a specific moment in the concert to the 57k in attendance. It was SO powerful. In Russia. This is change. To all of the brave people who held those flags high w tears in ur eyes. I see u. I stand w u. I love u”
The artist Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, appears on “Fall”, the Eminem track in which the homophobic slur is used.
Vernon said he was not in the studio for the Eminem track and he lobbied for them to change it, to no avail, tweeting to a fan: “Was not in the studio for the Eminem track… came from a session with BJ Burton and Mike Will. Not a fan of the message, it’s tired. Asked them to change the track, wouldn’t do it. Thanks for listening to BRM”
He later added: “Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time , there is no doubt. I have and will respect that. Tho, this is not the time to criticize Youth, it’s the time to listen. To act. It is certainly not the time for slurs. Wish they would have listened when we asked them to change it”
He finally promised to “kill the track.”