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Rappers pull out of Wes Stock due to college controversy

Elliott Brennan reports.

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A headline act has pulled out of upcoming Wesley College music festival “Wes Stock” after learning of the college’s past controversies.

Sydney-based rap crew Flip the Script revealed to Honi Soit they would not be participating in the October 14 festival after questions from fans alerted them to the college’s recent negative media attention.

The group said they didn’t hold any ill will toward the event or students who attend the college, but in light of the fact that some of their female fans didn’t feel comfortable attending, felt it best they didn’t perform.

“A couple of our mates took us to task and said they weren’t coming because it was at Wesley,” member Joe Bourke, 20, said.

“This isn’t to say I think it should be completely boycotted, but we couldn’t go and perform at a gig where some of our fans didn’t even feel comfortable attending.”

Wesley has been the subject of intense media and public scrutiny this year, after a Pulp article revealed details of a “Rackweb” published by in a journal edited by students at the college in 2014 that gave female residents titles such as “Best Ass” and “Biggest Pornstar”.

Despite pressure, the college did not release the names of the editors of the journal.

Flip the Script’s manager Liam Max Apter said the group were all aware of the “Rackweb” incident and others, but were under the impression more had been done to change the culture of the college.

“I spoke with a number of people linked to the issue and the overwhelming response I was given was negative, especially because Wesley didn’t give up the names following the revelations,” Apter said.

In a transcript obtained by Honi, the event’s booker said he “completely understood” the decision of the band, but described the scandals as a beat-up.

“For a bit of context they are a gross exaggeration fuelled by a student newspaper to sell more papers, however I respect your decision as it’s often tricky to see past the lies of the media,” the booker said.

The event’s organisers did not reply to Honi’s request for comment. Bourke said that response only affirmed the merit of the decision for him.

“The college needs to work out some kind of meaningful way to change what is clearly a damaged culture. Ground rules need to be made and it needs to be clear to the young men in attendance that there’s no place in today’s society for slut-shaming,” he said.

After this article appeared in print on Tuesday, Flip the Script have been removed from the event’s Facebook promotional material.