Toby Keith Criticized for ‘Racist’ Gesture
Toby Keith, country music's lightning rod of controversy, is at the center of another dust-up generated while he was in Norway for the Nobel Peace Prize concert. Earlier this week, The Boot reported that members of the Norwegian Parliament criticized the decision to include Toby in the concert, on the basis of his song, 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).'
This time, according to TMZ, an Asian American group says while performing in Norway with rapper Will Smith, Toby "embarrassed himself and his country" when he stretched his eyes back while Will Smith rapped the word "yellow."
A representative for the Asian American Justice Center says the country superstar "denigrated the Nobel Peace Prize and offended Asians and Asian Americans by using a crude, racist hand gesture."
Also weighing in on the matter, the Media Action Network for Asians, who say the singer "is telling his Asian fans 'you don't matter, you're not on my radar.'"
Toby was onstage with Smith, who was performing 'Rapper's Delight,' when Toby began pantomiming along with the lyrics, pointing to the rapper when he said the word "black," himself when he said "white," then appearing to point to his eyes -- when Smith rapped the word "yellow." Watch video of the performance here.
On Tuesday, a representative for Toby told TMZ, "No one at the concert thought Toby was out of line."
Toby himself has not made an official statement on the matter at this point.