British rapper slowthai sparked fury at the Mercury Prize ceremony by holding up an effigy of Boris Johnson‘s severed head.
The award-nominated artist held up the provocative mask as he took to the stage and addressed the crowd at the Eventim Apollo in London.
After stripping to the waist during an energetic act he shouted: ‘F*** Boris Johnson. F*** everything’.
Slowthai was nominated for his album Nothing Great About Britain, which casts a critical eye over life in the modern UK.
British rapper slowthai sparked anger at the Mercury Prize ceremony by holding up an effigy of Boris Johnson ‘s severed head
The BBC live feed cut away from the rapper as he held up the effigy, but he audience responded with rapturous applause as slowthai (who spells his stage name with a lower-case S) left the stage.
But there was anger online with one viewer saying ‘someone’s probably going to end up getting killed because of this move’.
‘This is really dumb, embarrassing and dangerous,’ they said.
Another Twitter user said: ‘I don’t know which cause he thinks this is helping, but the answer is none. Horrible.’
‘Imagine what the reaction would be if Johnson got on a podium for his next speech with a severed head with slowthai’s face on it,’ another asked.
There was anger online at the Boris Johnson stunt with one viewer saying ‘someone’s probably going to end up getting killed because of this move’
Some Twitter users reacted with fury to slowthai’s stunt at the Mercury Prize tonight
Yet another wrote: ‘That and spitting on the stage before even starting his song all rather unnecessary in my opinion’.
Awards host Lauren Laverne addressed the stunt without comment, saying: ‘slowthai, with his own views there.’
Slowthai was one of 12 artists shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, which was won by London rapper Dave.
After the performance, slowthai, real name Tyron Frampton, took to Twitter to promote a ‘F*** Boris’ T-shirt along with a lewd picture of the Prime Minister and an outline of the UK.
Among the judges was Stormzy, who raised his own profile by criticising then prime minister Theresa May during his performance at the Brit Awards in 2018.
The stunt is reminiscent of U.S. comedian Kathy Griffin’s infamous photo with an effigy of Donald Trump’s bloodied head, which made her a Hollywood pariah when it was published in 2017.
She captioned it with a reference to ‘blood coming out of his wherever’ – a play on Trump’s controversial comments about TV host Megyn Kelly.
Griffin initially apologized for the stunt but later revoked that statement and now stands by the photo, insisting it was legitimate free speech.
The two-time Emmy winner claimed she had been under investigation by federal authorities into whether she was a credible threat.
Griffin was dropped from CNN’s New Year’s Eve show and co-host Anderson Cooper said the photo was ‘clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate’.