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Antisemitism in New Mexico and Arizona: Jewish Singer Matisyahu Blames the Cancellation of his Concerts on Staff Sabotage

Two concerts by Jewish reggae singer-songwriter Matisyahu were suddenly canceled this week. Although the official reasons point to a lack of staff and alleged concerns about possible protests, the artist claims that the real reason was the refusal of staff to work due to their antisemitism.

The affected concerts were at Meow Wolf, New Mexico, and at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona. On Wednesday, the sold-out event at Meow Wolf was canceled due to an alleged lack of staff to manage the crowd.

“Two hours before the show was set to begin, we found ourselves without adequate staff to safely manage the sold-out crowd. Meow Wolf will always prioritize the safety of our employees and our guests. We are in the process of refunding all ticket holders,” a company spokesperson said.

However, the news outlet KOAT reported that the decision was influenced by pro-Palestinian groups, who claimed to have pressured through social media and phone calls for the event to be canceled.

Thursday’s Rialto Theater concert in Tucson, Arizona, was also canceled, and its decision was justified by pointing to safety concerns and staff shortages over potential demonstrations. However, only about five people showed up to protest, which did not represent any risk to the event.

The singer denounced through social media that some employees with anti-Israel stances might have realized that failure to report to work would result in the cancellation of the event.

“My band and I should have played a sold-out show at Meow Wolf (Wednesday), and we were excited for (Thursday’s) show at the Rialto (Theatre) in Tucson,” he wrote. “Instead, the staff at these venues refused to come to work, forcing cancellations. Without our permission or approval, the venue in Santa Fe misinformed our fans cancelling the show was due to ‘security concerns,’ when the only concern was a group of staff unwilling to work my show,” Matisyahu claimed through social networks.

Mayor Alan Webber of Santa Fe also spoke out about the cancellation, condemning the discrimination against Matisyahu. In his statement, Webber said there is a big difference between protesting the Netanyahu government’s policies in Gaza and shutting down a Jewish-American artist’s performance in Santa Fe.

“There’s no excuse for antisemitism, Islamophobia, bigotry, bias, racism, or intolerance, not here, not now, not ever,” Webber said after what happened.