We can’t say what exactly the president of Sri Lanka expected from a concert that was part of a tour called Love and Sex, but he was shocked and outraged by Enrique Iglesias’ first live show in the country after women threw their bras at the pop star and rushed the stage attempting to kiss him. So much so that he called for the promoters of the show to be “beaten with poisonous stingray tails.”
“This is most uncivilized behavior that goes against our culture,” President Maithripala Sirisena said publicly after Iglesias’ Dec. 20 concert in the commercial capital, Colombo, according to wire service reports and BBC. “I don’t advocate that these uncivilized women who removed their brassieres should be beaten with poisonous stingray tails, but those who organized such an event should be.”
Whipping with the tails of stingrays was said to have been used on criminals in medieval Sri Lanka, and has become an expression for severe punishment, according to reports.
The president suggested that the government would be stricter about allowing pop stars who stir up female fans to perform in his country in the future. “I want to stress that these indecent concerts should never receive authorization again in Sri Lanka,” he said.
President Sirisena also complained about the high cost of tickets, which were said to range from 5,000 rupees ($35) to 50,000 rupees ($350).
The concert was produced by Live Events, an entertainment company owned by two recently retired Sri Lankan cricket legends, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
On Monday, the promoters issued a statement apologizing for problems at the concert. They acknowledged that security “failed alarmingly” and apologized for the “negative experience.” Those who had paid for the most expensive tickets were said to have been pushed from their seating area by people who bought cheaper tickets as security failed. “Although we know an apology or refund cannot fully satiate your disappointment, we wish to reiterate that we remain fully committed to all of you and our country,” the promoters said.
Live Events not directly refer to the President’s criticism of the bra throwing and other audience behavior.
Iglesias, at least at first, seemed oblivious to the controversy, posting a video of the show on his Instagram account.
Watch Iglesias field a bra during the song “Bailando” in this fan video.