Andrew WK says disappointed, puzzled after United States pulls plug on planned trip
An American rock star, whose plans to visit Bahrain were halted by the US State Department earlier this week, has said he would still "love to visit" the Gulf kingdom in the future.
Famous for songs such as Party ‘til you Puke and Party Hard, Andrew WK said he was due to visit elementary schools, the University of Bahrain and music venues to promote “partying and world peace”.
The US State Department and the US Embassy in Bahrain initially invited him to the Gulf state but on Monday they had a change of heart and cancelled the trip.
In a statement on his website, the rocker said: “I’m disappointed and puzzled by their change of heart and last minute decision."
He said he had first been invited in September 2011 and was "overjoyed" at the chance to give a motivational lecture in Bahrain.
"We received our official itinerary on Monday and less than six hours later, we received an urgent telephone call informing us that the entire trip had been cancelled, due to some higher level controversy.
"I would’ve done a great job and represented our nation with dignity and pride. Despite all these challenges, I still would love to go and I vow to continue partying, and working everyday to to unite our human race through the power of positive partying.”
He added: "I was thrilled at the opportunity to represent my country and the spirit of inclusive and open-minded freedom that makes our nation so special and inspiring.
"So, for a Department of State representative to say Andrew WK ‘doesn’t meet their standards’ after they invited me and planned my trip for a year… well, that doesn’t meet my standards either. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
The US State Department on Monday confirmed that the rocker had been invited to Bahrain and had discussed the possibility of co-sponsoring the trip but had later decided it was not an appropriate use of funds.
“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 US government funds,” Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokesperson, said.
The US State Department regularly sponsors musicians and sports groups on trips to promote cultural ties.
Bahrain, a close ally of the US and home to its Fifth Fleet, has been hurt by political unrest following last year’s government crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.