Feature Image: Erik McGregor / LightRocket via Getty Images
“We will not allow Amazon to exploit our creativity to promote its brand while it enables attacks on immigrants, communities of color, workers, and local economies. We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us.”
With a less than admirable reputation, multi-billion dollar corporation Amazon find themselves under scrutiny more often than not in the media. With multiple human rights violations beneath their belt, including horrendous working conditions for employees stationed at Amazon warehouses, ties to US law enforcement including ICE and multiple projects and services that are known for racial discrimination and profiling – while it’s difficult to get away from such a powerful conglomerate, many people stand in solidarity against their extremely unethical actions.
Last week, American DJ The Black Madonna announced her outrage when learning after being signed to the bill of Intersect Festival, the event was boasted by Amazon Web Services as a sponsor – a fact allegedly not disclosed in any paperwork. Following her leave from the Intersect lineup and the sponsorship thrown into the spotlight, an open letter to Amazon has been published by digital rights group Fight For The Future – now backed by over 800 musicians entitled “No Music For ICE!”, a calling for Amazon to cease their unethical practices with the condition that aforementioned musicians will completely boycott any events Amazon are involved with, including any exclusive deals or further sponsorships. Musicians such as Xiu Xiu, Devon Welsh, Zola Jesus and Girlpool are among the many artists backing this boycott.
The open letter calls for Amazon to commit to the following:
* Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses
* Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government’s deportation machine
* End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon’s facial recognition product
* Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.
Tackling the corporation’s unscrupulous behaviour is a big task, and with CEO Jeff Bezos standing as the richest man in the world, it’s evident profit stands before ethics; yet community engagement is powerful, and these types of boycotts could put them in a difficult position.
For more information on the initiative and how to participate, the letter can be found here.