(WASHINGTON) — Rapper Lupe Fiasco was not feeling the inaugural love on Sunday night when he was supposedly thrown offstage and escorted from the premises of a Washington, D.C., concert hall during a pre-inauguration concert.
The Grammy-nominated rapper was performing at the StartUp RockOn Inauguration bash at the Hamilton Live Theater when he publicly criticized the president. According to concertgoers, the 31-year old performer went on an anti-war, anti-Obama rant during which he shared that he didn’t actually vote for the president.
Though he was asked to perform just one night before Obama’s second inauguration, this is not the first time the rapper has publicly spoken out against Obama. He also has been long known to voice his discontent with the American voting system.
As concertgoers grew increasingly angry, a staff member approached Fiasco asking him to change songs. He continued with his chastising lyrics when his microphone was cut and the concert hall lights were dimmed, but that didn’t stop the fiasco as he continued to rap and his band continued to play. Venue bouncers then intervened forcing him off stage and replacing his set with a DJ.
The Startup RockOn concert, which prides itself on its website as “a celebration of the entrepreneurs, innovators, and risk takers that make this country what it is,” hosted Fiasco as its headliner.
StartUp RockOn organizers released an official statement saying that Lupe Fiasco ended his performance early, but was never actually kicked off stage.
“Lupe Fiasco performed at this private event, and as you may have read, he left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not ‘kicked off stage’ for an “anti-Obama rant.”
The statement continues, “We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Eric Bradner, CNN
Ben Westcott, CNN