E spells notoriety for Boy George

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The Independent Online
Boy George has sparked outrage with plans to release a song about ecstasy. MPs called for the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, to ban the record, "Everything Starts With An E'', by the Ezee Posse on Boy George's More Protein record label.

The former heroin addict's record company is pressing ahead with re-releasing the 1989 song even after the renewed uproar surrounding the use of the rave drug following the death of Leah Betts, the teenager who took an ecstasy tablet at her birthday party.

Tory MPs called it "sad and sick" and demanded that the record company think again or for Mr Howard to ban it.

But Boy George's spokesman defended it, claiming that although the song was about ecstasy, it did not condone its use.

Terry Dicks, Tory MP for Hayes and Harlington, said: "Anybody associated with this venture should be ashamed of themselves. This is simply playing into the hands of the drug barons and is a total outrage.

"If those responsible do not withdraw this from sale or reverse their decision, then the Home Office should step in and ban it without delay."

Harry Greenway, MP for Ealing North, said: "This is both sad and sick, especially in the light of Leah Betts's death."

Boy George actually sings on the record, which was first released in 1989 and got to number 15 in the charts in 1990, when there was little knowledge of ecstasy in the mainstream.

A spokesman for More Protein, Ross Fitzsimon, said it was planned to release the single in February as part of the promotion of a compilation from back catalogues called Closet Classics Vol 2.

"If anyone's death is connected with the use of a drug, then that's tragic," he said. "But this is a pop record. It doesn't advocate the use of drugs. It's quite ironic. It was a club anthem in the early years of that scene in this country."

Boy George's position on drug use was "a matter of record", he said.

The singer became addicted to heroin and one of his friends overdosed in his flat.

He wrote candidly in his autobiography, Take It Like A Man, about how some of his friends had become addicts. "Brilliant, sparkling human beings that have been reduced to sniffling repetition. They are not using drugs, drugs are using them. It isn't glamorous or liberating."