Indonesia is a diverse and multicultural country, whose people are generally welcoming to, and, to some extent, fanatical about foreign entertainers.
However, not everyone in Indonesia appreciates diversity in entertainment. Some reject outside influences due to ignorance, while others use such protests to gain political clout and media exposure.
Conservative groups have, on numerous occasions, loudly protested against concerts or events by overseas talent, claiming that they are immoral, blasphemous, or harmful to the nation’s values and identity. Here are five examples of such protests that have made headlines in the past:
Lady Gaga (2012)
The American pop star Lady Gaga was supposed to perform in Jakarta as part of her “Born This Way Ball” tour on June 3, 2012. However, she faced fierce opposition from several Islamist groups, such as the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), who threatened to stop her concert by force. They accused her of being a “devil’s messenger” who promoted homosexuality, pornography, and Satanism. The police also denied her a permit to perform, citing security concerns. Lady Gaga eventually canceled her concert, disappointing thousands of her fans.
Miss World 2013
The Miss World beauty pageant’s finals night was moved to Bali from Bogor in September 2013 amid protests from various Islamic groups who considered it a form of exploitation and objectification of women. The protesters, who staged rallies in Jakarta, demanded that the event be canceled or moved to another country. The organizers tried to appease the protesters by scrapping the bikini round and replacing it with sarongs. However, the protests continued until the final night of the pageant, which was won by Miss Philippines Megan Young.
Maria Ozawa (2022)
A Valentine’s Day gala dinner with former Japanese adult film star Maria Ozawa (also known as Miyabi) in Jakarta was canceled by the organizers after facing backlash and threats from some conservative groups who accused them of inviting an immoral and pornographic guest. The organizers and Miyabi apologized to fans and expressed their disappointment and confusion over the controversy.
Interestingly, Miyabi faced similar resistance from conservative groups in 2010 during promotional tours for her two Indonesian movies that year, Menculik Miyabi (Kidnapping Miyabi) and Hantu Tanah Kusir (The Ghost of Tanah Kusir).
FIFA U-20 World Cup (2023)
Indonesia was stripped of its hosting rights for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, a youth football tournament that was supposed to take place across six cities in May 2023. FIFA, the world governing body of football, made the decision after some conservative groups in Indonesia – and eventually provincial governors in Central Java’s Ganjar Pranowo and Bali’s Wayan Koster – protested against the participation of the Israeli national team. The groups claimed that Israel was an illegal and oppressive state that violated the rights of the Palestinian people.
The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) tried but failed to lobby FIFA to keep Indonesia on as the host. Ultimately, FIFA gave the hosting rights to Argentina.
When FIFA announced it was canceling the draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup, we all knew that was a sign of worse things to come. And the worst did… Read more.
March 30, 2023
The British rock band Coldplay is set to perform in Jakarta as part of their Music of the Spheres World Tour on Nov. 15, 2023 at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium. However, they are already facing opposition from the Islamic group Persaudaraan Alumni (PA) 212, who have called for the cancellation of their concert.
The group claims that Coldplay is a supporter of the LGBT and atheist movements, which are against the values of Pancasila and religion in Indonesia. PA 212’s Deputy Secretary-General Novel Bamukmin said that his group is ready to stage a massive protest if the concert goes ahead, including blocking the venue and surrounding the airport on the day of the band’s arrival, similar to the protests that were threatened against Lady Gaga’s 2012 concert.
The Islamic group Persaudaraan Alumni (PA) 212 has called for the cancellation of Coldplay’s concert in Jakarta, scheduled for Nov. 15, 2023 at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Stadium. The… Read more.
May 15, 2023
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