LONDON, June 20 (UPI)–British comedian Russell Brand has canceled his scheduled “Messiah Complex” stage shows in Abu Dhabi after being warned his safety could not be guaranteed.
“Those gigs have been banned, pulled because of threats from extremists, that if I went there, there would be problems,” the BBC said Brand told Radio 5live Thursday. “The venue contacted us and said, ‘We can no longer guarantee your safety.'”
Brand said he suspects the promotional poster for the tour might have sparked some of the controversy.
“The image by the brilliant artist Shepard Fairey depicts me as looking a little Christ-like … so there’s an indication that it might be offensive,” he said. “If you are in some sort of fundamentalist group and Google my name and watch a few things on YouTube you might just think, ‘Don’t bother having him here.'”
The BBC said Brand was to have kicked off his first world comedy tour in the Middle Eastern city in August.
He is scheduled to perform in the United States, Canada and South Africa.