Matisyahu Accuses Concert Venues Of Antisemitism. Venues Blame Something Else

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Hit songwriter Matisyahu accused two concert venues of antisemitism after his shows were cancelled in February.

Matisyahu, a Jewish-American reggae artist best known for his hits like “King Without A Crown” and “Sunshine,” was told just hours before his shows the venues were canceling them. Venue Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was the first to call off his show Wednesday, according to local outlet KOAT. The staff cited employee safety concerns over alleged antisemitic protests.

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The Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona, then cancelled Matisyahu’s show Thursday, saying in a Facebook post, “We will always prioritize the safety of our employees and our guests. We are in the process of refunding all ticketholders. We apologize for the late notice of cancellation.”

King Without A Crown

“Tonight in Tucson, we have offered to supplement their staff shortages on our own dime, but to no avail,” Matisyahu said on Twitter following the cancellations. “They do this because they are either anti-Semitic or have confused their empathy for the Palestinian people with hatred for someone like me who holds empathy for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber expressed a total lack of tolerance for the alleged racism and discrimination related to Matisyahu not performing. “There is a significant difference between protesting against the policies of the Netanyahu government in Gaza and shutting down the performance of a Jewish-American artist in Santa Fe. There’s no excuse for antisemitism, Islamophobia, bigotry, bias, racism, or intolerance, not here, not now, not ever,” he said in a statement shared by KOAT. “The war in Israel and Gaza is a humanitarian tragedy, and we should all join in the call for the safe return of all hostages and an end to the killing. We need to see peace in the Middle East.” (RELATED: We Asked People At A Pro-Palestinian Protest To Condemn Hamas Violence. Then Things Got Aggressive.)


The Rialto Theatre’s executive director Cathy Rivers told the Daily Caller that the decision to cancel the show was “based on safety. The temperature of the day changed, and the tone was not set by us.”

“The decision to cancel the Matisyahu concert had nothing to do with politics or religion. This was an operational decision based on safety,” Meow Wolf’s Kati Murphy told the Daily Caller in a statement. Matisyahu did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

This story has been updated to include the venues’ comments to the Daily Caller.