The new Witt Fest performer that will replace B.o.B. will be announced next week by Union Board. The invitation for the rapper to perform was withdrawn after the decision that his views “are inconsistent with our institutional mission and values” Casey Gill, Dean of Students, said in her campus-wide e-mail on Friday. “With the full support of Student Senate and Union Board, we have decided to pursue a different direction.”
The rapper’s controversial and sometimes wacky lyrics and social media posts have led some to accuse him of anti-Semitism, entangled him in a flat-earth debate with physicist Neal deGrassse Tyson and led others to conclude he questions the historical record regarding American slavery.
A petition posted on Facebook initiated by Allison Ross, ’20, and endorsed by 19 others said, “As Wittenberg students we cannot allow for our school to support him and his beliefs. Wittenberg calls on us to be global citizens and B.o.B goes against our values. Let’s stand up for what we believe in and boycott B.o.B.”
Union Board members Annie Carrol, ’19, and Veronica Bidwill, ’20, said that the cancelation of B.o.B.’s performance will cost some money but hope Union Board may get much of it back.
“I’m personally disappointed that a headliner that a big part of campus was really excited about isn’t going to be here, but I also totally agree with the decision that we did make,” Carroll said.
Carrol and Bidwill both said that they got several texts and e-mails on both sides of the question, some supporting the decision to cancel B.o.B.’s appearance, some opposing it.
John Kolberg, ’18, said he was happy to learn that B.o.B was to be the headliner at Witt Fest and “really disappointed” to hear of the cancelation. “He’s not afraid to profess what he thinks is true,” Kolberg added. “I don’t think his voice is a threat” because “Witt Fest wouldn’t be a stage for him to share his views.”
The cancelation lead to rumors that Jesse McCartney might be B.o.B.’s replacement, which Bidwill and Carrol denied. “He’s unavailable on that date.”
During a Monday evening meeting, Union Board was discussing possible replacements and hope to attract a Hip-Hop artist.
Union Board made its original choice in December after months of work. They now are faced with working to find someone new to perform on April 21. Union Board plans to announce the new Wittfest headliner by campus-wide e-mail.