September 12, 2008 / 7:48 AM / 10 years ago

Australia grants Snoop Dogg visa, plus counseling

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia granted gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg a visa on Friday after public complaints over a planned tour in October, but said he would be required to undergo counseling before arriving Down Under.

Rapper Snoop Dogg performs at the 2008 Wango Tango concert in Irvine, California May 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., was refused permission to even apply for a visa to enter Australia in 2007 because of his criminal record, sinking plans for him to co-host the MTV Australia Video Music Awards

Australian immigration officials last month cleared an October visit, but then demanded more information after a spate of public complaints from Australian victims of crime groups.

“We took into account all relevant factors and, on balance, the department decided to grant the visa,” an immigration spokesman said.

Oscar-winning Australian actor Russell Crowe this week wrote a letter to immigration officials to support Snoop Dogg’s visa application and 17-day “Smoked Out” tour.

Crowe said Snoop Dogg had pledges to do charity work with at-risk youths while in Australia.

“I submit to you that Snoop Dogg poses no threat to Australia or to any individual in this country,” Crowe wrote.

The spokesman said the visa will be canceled if Snoop failed to abide by the law during his visit to Australia and strict behavior rules to abide by while in the country.

Snoop Dogg was first barred by Australia’s former conservative government, which lost power last year to the center-left Labor government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Labor has steadily softened tough immigration laws while in power. Critics say Snoop Dogg’s lyrics are racist and sexist. The rapper has sold over 17 million records.

His criminal record counts several drugs and firearms charges since 1990, including a 1993 acquittal for murder. He has also been denied entry to Britain.

Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Bill Tarrant

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