Growing calls for UK rapper Dizzee Rascal to be blocked from performing at Kiwi festivals after assault conviction

There are growing calls for UK rapper Dizzee Rascal to be blocked from performing on stage in New Zealand this summer after he was convicted of domestic assault. 

It comes after Vodafone announced on Tuesday it would pull its sponsorship from the stage when he performs at Rhythm & Vines.

The rapper is one of the hundreds of artists taking the stage over the summer. Best known for songs like 'Dance Wiv Me' and 'Bonkers', Dizzee Rascal was convicted of assaulting his former fiancée in March and was handed a one-year restraining order as well as a 24-week curfew. 

On Friday, while still serving the sentence, he'll headline the Rhythm & Vines festival. 

"For both young men and young women, it sets a terrible example. It demonstrates that actually, domestic violence isn't that serious," Women's Refuge chief executive Ang Jury said.

In 2015, singer Chris Brown was blocked from entering New Zealand after being convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. 

Women's Refuge said Dizzee Rascal's case should be no different. 

"We don't believe that he should've even been allowed to come into the country. It is our law that is lacking," Jury said.

Several organisations have echoed that call online.

Lucas Fahey, known by their stage name 'Big Sima', has encouraged other musicians to take a stand but acknowledges many are afraid to do so. 

"We're at the point where we can actually speak out about it. But I think the biggest issue is artists are being put in a position where they're almost being held to ransom for their opportunities," Fahey said.

Rhythm & Vines declined an interview with Newshub but in a statement said it doesn't condone violence of any kind.

It said the artist has followed all necessary steps to obtain a temporary visa to enter the country, which has been approved.

Newshub put the questions to Immigration New Zealand and asked for a response on Wednesday but the department was unable to provide one.

As well as Rhythm & Vines, Dizzee Rascal is also set to perform at multiple other festivals including Gold Rush in Waihi. 

On Tuesday, that festival announced seven acts were no longer performing there.

The artists themselves haven't confirmed the motive behind their decision and Gold Rush said it's due to the removal of a dance stage.