The head of the group that hands out the Grammys predicted thered be a lot of criticism for nominating Eminem for four awards - and he was right.
The academy has logged thousands of e-mails and phone calls from people angry about the nominations for the rapper, whose "The Marshall Mathers LP" contains venomous and violent messages about homosexuals and women. Eminem, who won two Grammys last year, was nominated for the prestigious album of the year award and in three rap categories.
"I dont understand how they could ignore his hateful, homophobic lyrics in their decision-making process," Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said on Friday. "Its just not OK to be provocative at the expense of an entire community of people."
Eminem, 26, declined to comment.
In Eminems lyrics, he refers to "faggots," fantasizes about raping his own mother and jokes about domestic violence. He even has written songs about killing his wife, with whom he has had a troubled relationship. (Last year, he filed for divorce from his wife, who tried to commit suicide, then reconciled with her; he also was sued by his mother and arrested for attacking someone with a gun.)
Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, called the album "repugnant" - and predicted criticism when the nominations were announced Wednesday.
"Were going to catch a lot of flak for this, theres no question, but youve really got to view this in the context of art being a pretty extreme medium sometimes," he said then.
"Were viewing this recording as something thats important, but something that we certainly dont condone, the themes that run through it," he added.
Eminems album was one of the best-selling albums of 2000, and has been showered with praise by critics and even other artists for its clever, angst-driven rhymes.
"To those who have been supportive of this album, perhaps they should spend a little time with kids who have been beat up in playrooms and been beat up in lockerrooms because theyre gay," said Garry.
Erik Parker, music editor for The Source magazine, said with the kind of success Eminem had, "the Grammys couldnt help but to recognize that. I mean, it would have been a blatant oversight not to recognize Eminem.