*A U.K. Asylum and Immigration Tribunal is expected to rule today on whether its ban on Snoop Dogg’s entry into the country is really necessary.
The rapper—real name Calvin Broadus— has been assigned a special no-fly status by the UK which allows it to deny entry based on questions of character. This all started with the 2006 Heathrow Airport incident that sparked when some members of his 30-strong entourage were not allowed into the British Airways first-class lounge during a layover.
After a heated argument and mini-scuffle with police ensued, Snoop was detained and later released with a warning for what British authorities said, and he admitted, was the use of “insulting words.” But the rap star has been barred from setting foot in the U.K. ever since. [Watch full video of Snoop’s Heathrow incident below.]
Per the Wall Street Journal:
The U.K. says Snoop, whose rap sheet includes drug and weapons convictions, fits the bill, and border officials here have gone to unusual lengths to back it up. While the average immigration dispute here takes several months to resolve, Snoop’s ordeal with the U.K. bureaucracy has gone on for years.
There is “disbelief and frustration” at the time it is taking and the energy the government has put into the effort, said Philip Trott, Snoop’s lawyer at the U.K.’s Bates Wells & Braithwaite LLP. Agent Brent Smith at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment LLC added: “Snoop has missed out on several arena tour opportunities, many TV and festival opportunities, as well as a few proposed charity events…And now the U.K. taxpayer is financing the court appeals.” [Story continues below.]
When a member of the House of Lords asked the government to allow Snoop entry, the then-minister for borders and immigration countered in a letter that the rapper’s presence “may act as a focus for public order offenses or violent crime.” Snoop’s lawyers have argued in court that all he did during the Heathrow incident was use bad language and that he doesn’t endorse a criminal lifestyle.
Snoop appealed the decision and won an early round when an immigration judge reversed the ban, finding no evidence that he had been responsible for public disorder. In fact, Judge Nehar Bird said in her January 2008 decision, the Heathrow melee was “precipitated by decisions made by BA staff and the police” and noted that Mr. Broadus had previously been granted permission to perform in the U.K. despite convictions in the U.S. She added that Snoop had performed in France, Germany and other European countries in 2007.
Border authorities asked for the case to be reconsidered. But in April 2008, a second immigration judge came to the same conclusion Judge Bird had come to.
The government took the case to the Court of Appeal. In a partial victory for the immigration authorities, the appeals court in 2008 said that Judge Bird had misinterpreted the test for exclusion for the public good and sent the case back to an immigration tribunal to rehear it. Those proceedings are scheduled to begin today.