After Novak Djokovic saga, Australia warns Kanye West to get vaccinated or forget his show

The rapper is reported to have a concert planned at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium in March

Kanye West is planning a show in Australia, but authorities say he's not welcome if he isn't vaccinated against Covid-19. Reuters
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"Follow the rules, you can come. You don't follow the rules, you can't." That's the message to Kanye West from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, following reports that the rapper was planning a concert in the country.

Replying to questions about the planned March performance on Saturday, Morrison said West, who recently changed his name legally to Ye, will have to comply with Covid-19 rules in order to perform in Australia.

"The rules are you have to be fully vaccinated," Morrison said. "They apply to everybody, as people have seen most recently. It doesn't matter who you are, they are the rules."

While Ye has yet to make an announcement, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday that the rapper's management had approached the Australian Football League, which owns Melbourne's Marvel Stadium, where Ye intends to play.

Ye's management has proposed a Monday, March 21 concert date to ensure he returned to Las Vegas by Monday, April 4 to attend the Grammy Awards. He is also scheduled to headline the Coachella festival on Friday, April 15 and Friday, April 22.

The vaccination status of West, a 2020 US presidential candidate, is unknown. In a 2020 interview with business magazine Forbes, he had called getting vaccinated "the mark of the beast".

Australia, one of the nations most heavily vaccinated against Covid-19, has been battling an explosive wave of infections in the past month driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Prime minister Morrison's comment follows a widely-publicised saga two weeks ago when tennis star Novak Djokovic's hopes for a Grand Slam title were dashed when a court upheld the government's decision to cancel his visa over his unvaccinated status.

Novak Djokovic leaving Melbourne Airport following his deportation over his unvaccinated status. Reuters

Djokovic, 34, was embroiled in a legal and political storm when he arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open. The tennis star was denied entry and had his visa cancelled after the Australian Border Force deemed evidence of his medical exemption against Covid-19 vaccination insufficient.

His appeal to have the cancellation overturned was eventually rejected.

“This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods," Morrison said, after a court ruling. "Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected."

– Additional reporting by Reuters

Updated: January 29, 2022, 9:50 AM
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