Music

Ja Rule ‘Devastated’ That U.K. Denied Him Entry Over Criminal Record On Eve of 25th Anniversary Tour

Ja Rule told his British fans that he was “devastated” that his planned U.K. anniversary tour has been scotched after he was denied entry into the country due to his criminal record. “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% sold and now I can’t come…,” the rapper wrote on Instagram on Tuesday (Feb. 27).

Back in December, Ja (born Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr.), 47, announced the dates for the Sunrise Tour, a 25th anniversary swing celebrating his quarter century in music and the release of his 1999 debut album, Venni Vetti Vecci. The 10-show run was slated to feature support from Keri Hilson, Lloyd and Mya and kick off on Friday (March 1) at the Utilita Arena Cardiff in Cardiff before going on to London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Dublin and Belfast before winding down on March 17 in Glasgow at the OVO Hydro.

In a series of follow-up tweets, Ja wrote, “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 was sentenced to two years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to attempted possession of a weapon in connection with a 2007 arrest on gun and drug possession charges; in 2011, he sentenced to an additional two-years in prison on tax evasion charges.

Following the denial, Ja wrote on Wednesday (Feb. 28) that he is “gonna do something special for my UK fans since I’ll NEVER be able to come across the pond,” later adding, “My team made it CLEAR to the promoter that I have a criminal record and can’t get in the country…The PROMOTER swore this wouldn’t be an issue The PROMOTER started selling tickets y’all love to blame the artist lol… GET YOUR REFUNDS!!!”

The U.K. typically refuses entry to anyone who has “been convicted of a criminal offense punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment” according to the U.K. charity Unlock. At press time spokespeople for Ja Rule and Ticketmaster had not returned Billboard‘s request for comment.

See Ja’s announcement about the tour cancelation below.

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