James Taylor Cancels Philippines Concert to Protest Drug War Killings

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The Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum Presents All For The Hall Los Angeles Benefit Concert Featuring Vince Gill, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, James Taylor, And Joe Walsh
Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images

Like most rational people, James Taylor doesn’t have a friend in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The singer-songwriter, who’s embarking on an international tour early next year, has announced that he has chosen to cancel his February concert in Manila in protest of Duterte’s brutal war on drugs in the Philippines. “I don’t think of my music as being particularly political,” Taylor wrote on his Facebook page, “but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.” It’s estimated that Duterte’s alleged extrajudicial killings have claimed the lives of over 6,000 people thus far; he was elected to the presidency earlier this year primarily due to his campaign promise to kill 100,000 criminals. “The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society,” Taylor explained. “For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; 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.” All concertgoers who bought tickets will be fully refunded, and Taylor has no plans to cancel his other performances in Southeast Asia.

James Taylor Cancels Manila Show Over Killings