Raunchy rocker loses chance to be U.S. cultural ambassador
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has decided that "party til you puke" may not be the best message for the embattled Gulf state of Bahrain.
U.S. rock musician Andrew W.K., a self-proclaimed "king of partying," said on his website that the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain had invited him as a "cultural ambassador" to visit elementary schools, a university and music venues.
The State Department on Monday said someone in Bahrain had approached the embassy about possible co-sponsorship of the trip but U.S. diplomats had second thoughts after reviewing W.K's catalogue, which includes songs such as "Party Til You Puke," "Girls Own Juice" and "Party Hard."
"That was initially approved and then when more senior management at the embassy took a look at this, the conclusion was that this was not an appropriate use of U.S. government funds," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday in response to a question.
"The conclusion was when they looked at the body of his work that we didn't need to be part of this invitation," Nuland said. "There may have been some preliminary conversations with him but he is not going to be going to Bahrain on the U.S. government's dime."
The rocker's website announcement was updated with a red banner headline reading "Cancelled by the U.S. State Dept."
Bahrain, a close U.S. ally in the culturally conservative Middle East, has been rocked by political unrest following last year's government crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
The State Department regularly sponsors artistic and sports groups on trips to promote cultural ties. The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain last month sponsored a hip hop program with visiting U.S. dancers and artists, according to its website.
(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Jim Loney)
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