Fla. Sheriff Questions Kendrick Lamar/Ludacris Concert

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott has some strong feelings about the acts chosen for Florida Gulf Coast University’s “Eaglepalooza” concert. Based on the “vile content” in Kendrick Lamar and Ludacris’ songs, Scott is considering declining requests for off-duty deputies to work the show.

The annual “Eaglepalooza” is scheduled Nov. 24 in Fort Myers, Fla., at JetBlue Park, which the Associated Press notes is a county owned park.

Fort Myers’ News-Press obtained a series of emails between the sheriff and FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw regarding Scott’s concerns about the show. Scott is doing everything he can to get his point across about just how upset he is, from bringing up the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to the recent outrage over celebrity chef Paula Dean’s use of the “n-word.” The sheriff also brings up the university president’s race in relation to the performers’ use of the “n-word.”

Photo: John Davisson
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tenn.

In an email to Bradshaw dated Aug. 26 Scott writes, “I respect and like you more than you know, but I can’t for the life of me begin to imagine why a black University President would sanction such vile content; especially so proximate to the golden anniversary of Dr. King’s speech.”

Bradshaw replied that after his staff researched past performances by Lamar and Ludacris “at more than 200 colleges and universities across the country, and they found no issues or incidents.” He assured the sheriff that the event will be safe with 75 to 100 security officers at the venue as well as law enforcement. Fans will be screened by metal detectors and no alcohol, tailgating, large bags or coolers will be allowed.

As for Bradshaw being black? He said, “As a university president – black or white – periodically there are expressed views related to students and faculty that the president doesn’t personally or professionally sanction or share.” He went on to say that the students had a “strong interest” in booking Lamar and Ludacris.

Because Scott’s first email wasn’t enough to convince Bradshaw, the sheriff replied that he “remained shocked” the president would endorse the gig because “the overwhelming content of rancid profanity, violence, gender and racial insensitivity is beyond compare.”

He reminded the president that he runs the show – as opposed to the students. He explained his comment about Bradshaw being black by saying, “I would think that you would be especially opposed to anyone or any act tied so closely to the University that spews the ‘n-word’ with such reckless disregard.” Later in the email he noted, “As a concerned American, I remain confused as to the double standards and hypocrisies that events like this demonstrate at a time when Paula Dean became a negative, national headline for using the ‘n-word’ some thirty (30) years ago.”

Scott says that his department has previously refused to work other events, including “Girls Gone Wild” and a local football event, and that he’s reviewing his options for Eaglepalooza.

The News-Press reports that in addition to asking his legal department about declining requests for off-duty deputies to work security, the sheriff asked if he could send the university a huge bill for necessary manpower at the concert based on “the pattern of local and national trends for heightened violence at these hip-hop shows.” The newspaper added that Scott also recommended that the county turn down an event permit for the concert. 

Tickets for Eaglepalooza go on sale Sept. 13.