If Malaysian officials’ logic holds, Avril Lavigne is sexier than Gwen Stefani and the Pussycat Dolls and just as potentially morally corrupting as BeyoncÃ©.
The Canadian faux-punkette has become the latest Western pop star to face trouble in the Asian country as she was uninvited from performing a planned Kuala Lumpur gig. The Muslim-majority country’s Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry canceled the show today amid growing protests and claims the singer was, quite simply, “too sexy.”
While that, of course, is entirely subjective, the timing of the planned gig–just two days before the nation’s Independence Day on Aug. 29–was not and, per a senior ministry official, was the real reason for the cancellation.
“It is not timely,” Shukran Ibrahim told the Associated Press. “It’s not in the spirit of our National Day. If we go ahead with the concert, it is contrary to what we are preparing for.”
Another unnamed ministry official told Reuters that the concert was indeed off, but not for good, adding that the date had simply been postponed and not scrapped all together.
“We did not reject the concert,” the official said. “We asked them to find another date as the original date is so close to the Independence Day. That’s the only reason.”
Not according to the headlines.
Earlier this week, officials with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s youth wing vocalized their objections to the show, regardless of its timing, saying Lavigne was “considered too sexy” for them: “We don’t want our people, our teenagers, influenced by their performance.”
As it happens, Lavigne is not the first to fall foul of the strict standards imposed on female singers in the country.
Last year, BeyoncÃ© pulled the plug on her own planned Kuala Lumpur gig amid similar complaints, but blamed her relocating the show to Indonesia on nothing more than a “scheduling conflict.” Just months earlier, Stefani was allowed to perform only after agreeing to wear less revealing costumes, while the promoters of a 2006 Pussycat Dolls show were fined because of the group’s “sexually suggestive routines.”