Sri Lanka Tells Akon See Ya Later

The hundreds of demonstrators who threw stones at the headquarters of a Sri Lankan private broadcaster’s headquarters in protest of Akon’s upcoming concert have gotten their wish.

The Sri Lankan government is refusing to issue the R&B singer a visa and he has postponed the concert.

The protestors had an issue with the music video for the 2009 tune “Sexy Bitch,” in particular a Buddha statue that is caught on film. The video features women in skimpy bikinis dancing around a pool party. Blink twice and you might miss it, but there’s a Buddha statue located at the head of the pool.

“Sexy Bitch” (and the clean version “Sexy Chick”) was recorded by French producer David Guetta and features Akon.

To show just what they thought about Buddha being invited to the pool party, on Monday a group of about 200 protestors threw stones at the headquarters of the Majaraja Organization, the broadcaster sponsoring Akon’s concert. Demonstrators left behind placards that read “Stop Akon’s show.”

Several protesters were taken into custody after four workers suffered minor injuries. The stones also shattered some of the building’s windows and damaged several vehicles parked outside the Majaraja Organization.

“Taking into consideration the allegations leveled against the singer Akon, the government had decided not to issue him a visa to conduct the concert in Sri Lanka,” Anusha Palpita, the Government Information Department’s director-general, said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Palpita said the top allegation was that Akon was “defaming Buddhism in his music videos.”

Buddhists make up about 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million population. Reuters pointed out hardline Sinhalese nationalists have been known to become violent in protest of those they view as being offensive towards Buddhism.

A Facebook page protesting “Sexy Bitch” was also recently launched called “We Hate Akon (Abuse Music Video Against Lord Buddha).” The group has racked up 12,466 fans.

Akon has issued a statement regarding the protest in addition to postponing the concert. The show would have taken place April 24 at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo, according to the Sunday Times.

“I was not aware that the statue was even on the set of the video until now,” Akon said. “I would never set out to offend or desecrate anyone’s religion of religious beliefs. I myself am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended, but violence is never the answer and I am disheartened to hear about what happened yesterday in Sri Lanka.”

Akon’s international booking firm, American Talent Agency, also issued its own statement.

“Akon is looking forward to performing for the people of Sri Lanka and we hope to have this situation resolved in the coming weeks.”

Concert promoter Lasantha Samarasingha said he plans to ask the government to reconsider letting the show go on because it would boost tourism and help the country’s economy.