Rapper Ja Rule ‘devastated’ after being denied entry to UK

Rapper Ja Rule ‘devastated’ after being denied entry to UK

Rapper Ja Rule has been left “devastated” after being denied entry into the UK – just days before the start of his tour.

The US rapper, 47, real name Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr, was due to begin his Sunrise tour at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff on Friday (1 March), before concerts in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

The music star, who is best known for his song “Always on Time” with Ashanti, wrote on social media: “I’m so devastated. I can’t believe the UK won’t let me in.

“I’ve spent a half million dollars in production of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry DAYS before my shows. This is not fair to me or my fans, these venues are 85 per cent sold and now I can’t come…

“The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.

“In general, you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law or served more than 12 months in prison.”

Ja Rule served two years in prison on gun and tax evasion charges, and was released in May 2013.

The Home Office can refuse entry to individuals who "have previously been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment," according to Unlock, a charity which assists people with criminal records.

Tickets for the shows are still available on Ticketmaster.

Ja Rule (Getty Images for A+E Networks)
Ja Rule (Getty Images for A+E Networks)

Ja Rule was due to be supported on the tour by Mya, Keri Hilson and Lloyd.

After one fan tweeted Ticketmaster to ask about refunds, the website’s customer service team replied: “Once we receive confirmed info an email will be sent to all customers for the event.”

Ja Rule also confirmed to fans that refunds would be available.

The rapper was previously at the centre of controversy over the doomed Fyre Festival, but was cleared of any legal wrongdoing.

The disastrous 2017 event resulted in organiser Billy McFarland going to prison for fraud.

The festival was scheduled to take place in the Bahamas in 2017 but caused more than 26 million US dollars (£20 million) in losses when it was cancelled for inadequate accommodation, food and water.

Last year, German punk band “Trigger Cut” were allegedly refused entry into the UK due to post-Brexit rule changes.

The band, which consists of three members, also said that the whole experience “at the UK border was humiliating and sad”.

Additional reporting by PA