Performance of 70’s Classic, “Kung Fu Fighting,” Leads to Arrest on Suspicion of Racism

Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm ET

f-tunes, Kissed With Apocalypse

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Is Carl Douglas' 1974 #1 hit "Kung Fu Fighting" racist?

Now, as a self-professed music snob, I take no issue with the suggestion that a live performance of Carl Douglas’s 1974 chart-topping hit “Kung Fu Fighting” is — in a sense — criminal. Criminal enough to warrant arrest, though? Racist? Surely not, no?

Well, unfortunately, the Isle of Wight, UK authorities disagree — or at least refuse to let common sense triumph over blind, dogmatic adherence to the letter of the law. And despite how unintended the consequences may be…

Simon Ledger and his legendary keytar were arrested for a racist performance of Kung Fu Fighting

Simon Ledger and his offending face-melter of a keytar (Photo via The Daily Mail)

Simon Ledger, 34, is accused of offending two Chinese people as they walked past the bar where he was singing the disco hit “Kung Fu Fighting” — and presumably melting faces via his trusty keytar.

According to Ledger, the song is a set staple of his regular performances at the Driftwood Beach Bar in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight. Even more shocking, Ledger claims the bar’s patrons — including those of Chinese descent — love the song, and have never complained about being offended.

However, a 32-year old Chinese man and his mother who happened to be walking by the bar during Ledger’s Sunday performance are singing a different tune:

We were performing Kung Fu Fighting, as we do during all our sets, [Ledger said].

People of all races were [allegedly] loving it.  Chinese people have never been offended by it before. But this lad walking past with his mum started swearing at us and making obscene hand gestures before taking a picture on his mobile phone.

The man apparently then reported Ledger to the police, who eventually caught up with the performer at a local Chinese restaurant (not kidding).

After some deliberation, Ledger was arrested under Section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986.  According to The Daily Mail, a local police spokesman had this to say:

If a victim believes that an alleged crime is racially aggravated, the police will treat it seriously. Investigations into this incident are continuing.

That’s potentially fair, I guess — assuming there’s some sort of “reasonableness” standard tied to an alleged victim’s belief.

I mean, I’d hate to see this happen again, for instance, via a performance of Paul Revere & The Raiders’ 1971 hit, “Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian),” or something.

Then again — well, let’s just hope the bail is set quite low…

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