South Korean hip-hop musician Don Malik, who was scheduled to perform at SXSW in Austin this week, was denied entry into the United States and, in the process, called a “chink” by airport employees, according to his agency StoneShip.
Don Malik and staff departed Korea on Sunday for a layover at San Francisco International Airport. Upon arrival, they were denied entry and detained for 24 hours despite their having valid ESTA authorizations and all relevant documents on hand, the agency’s CEO Jerry.K said in a statement. They were entering as guests at the festival, and were not going to be paid for the appearance.
“They were racially discriminated by local employees who imitated monkeys and called them “chink(s),” according to a translation of the Korean statement.
Don Malik’s agency said the group was unable to contact SXSW staff due to their cellphones being confiscated, and saw one artist handcuffed “for no reason.”
He is not the only artist who has been turned back from an American airport — according to Pitchfork, several artists, including Soviet Soviet, Yussef Kamaal, Massive Scar Era and ELOQ, have also been denied from attending the festival.
Soviet Soviet, writing on their Facebook page Friday, said they also had an invitation from SXSW and ESTA authorization, but were handcuffed by authorities, interrogated and put on a plane back to Italy.
“We feel deeply sorry that the artists were denied entry, treated unfairly and discriminated racially,” StoneShip wrote. “We hope that one day the fans who were looking forward to Don Malik’s showcase can see him perform under better circumstances.”