University students petition to cancel Robin Thicke concert over alleged 'misogyny'

  • Petition calls on BU to heed President Obama's January memorandum on collegiate sexual assault.
  • Student group says Boston University is a "bedrock for feminism and ideologies of equality."
  • Thicke has previously called comparisons of his song "Blurred Lines" to rape "ridiculous."

Students at Boston University (BU) are trying to stop singer Robin Thicke from performing at the university’s Agganis Arena on March 4, saying the performer’s alleged misogyny would disgrace the school’s progressive history.

“Thicke’s current celebrity status is not due only to his hit songs, but also his misogyny,” charges a petition by Humanists of Boston University, an official student group “for the nonreligious, skeptics, atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers on campus.”

“Thicke’s current celebrity status is not due only to his hit songs, but also his misogyny.” - Humanists of Boston University   

“Thicke’s hit song ‘Blurred Lines’ celebrates having sex with women against their will. Lyrics such as, ‘I know you want it,’ explicitly use non-consensual language. And while watching the extremely explicit video, the insinuations grow from subtle to explicit to obnoxious,” the petition reads.

The explicit version of the song’s music video shows Thicke gyrating with a series of topless women. According to Thicke’s Facebook fan page, YouTube removed this version of the video “because it was too hot!” The video’s style was reportedly based off of Treats!, a pornographic magazine, at the suggestion of Thicke’s wife.

In a July 2013 interview with GQ, Thicke stated that he and his collaborators, rappers T.I. and Pharrell, attempted to “do everything that was taboo. . .everything that is completely derogatory towards women.”

“Because all three of us are happily married with children, we were like, ‘We’re the perfect guys to make fun of this’,” Thicke said.

Two months later, Thicke told BBC 1 that criticisms comparing the song to rape were “ridiculous.”

The petition argues that allowing Thicke to perform would fly in the face of President Obama's January memorandum on collegiate sexual assaults as well as BU’s feminist history and tradition of equality. The petition contends the school was the first in the country to award an M.D. to a black woman, Dr. Rebecca Crumpler, and rallied behind activist Bill Baird in 1967 when he fought a Massachusetts law banning birth control.

The Humanists suggest that BU cancel Thicke’s performance, refund ticket sales, “and apologize for insinuating that sexism, or any form of baseless discrimination, is permissible at our institution.”

However, BU spokesman Colin Riley told The Daily Free Press, the university’s official newspaper, that the school played no role in scheduling Thicke and that the show was likely to go on.

“You’re talking about a college campus where it’s anathema to ban things,” he told the Free Press. “We respect our students’ views, but those are those students’ views.”

The petition has garnered over 1,500 signatures as of publication time. A protest is also planned for the day of the concert.

Mr. Thicke’s management did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

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Sterling Beard
Sterling Beard | Director of Journalism Training

Sterling Beard is Campus Reform's Director of Journalism Training. Prior to joining Campus Reform, he spent time as an editorial associate for National Review Online and as a staff writer at The Hill, where he served as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Lyn Nofziger Fellow and regularly appeared across the country on Fox News Radio to provide analysis of current events. In 2017, Sterling was named to The Chronicle of Higher Education's Influence List, one of nine people who "affected federal policy, campus culture, and the national conversation about education in 2017 — and who are likely to remain influential in the year ahead."

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