James Taylor Takes Stand Against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

The artist has canceled his show in Manila to protest extreme anti-drug policy.

By Robyn Collins

Singer-songwriter James Taylor tweeted Wednesday that he would not be playing his February show in Manila due to the extreme measures taken by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte against anyone involved with illegal drugs. In the message, Taylor shares that he doesn’t think of his songs as political, but sometimes one is called upon to take a stand.

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Duterte has implemented a no-trial, swift punishment crackdown on illegal drugs that has left more than 6,000 people dead, since taking office  in June of this year. Philippine government officials have defended police actions during the extreme movement, reports Billboard.

While acknowledging that drug addiction is a worldwide problem that seriously harms society, Taylor criticized the anti-drug campaign.

“For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable,” Taylor tweeted. “But recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.”

He apologized to fans and promised to refund the ticket money for the February 25 Mall of Asia Arena show. Taylor also reassured fans that this decision would not affect his shows in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

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