Chris Brown and Red Hot Chili Peppers should be removed from Spotify playlists, women's organisation urges

Ultraviolet penned a letter asking Spotify to remove more abusive artists

Ilana Kaplan
Tuesday 15 May 2018 16:11 BST
Chris Brown
Chris Brown (Bryan Steffy/Getty Images)

Women's rights organisation UltraViolet wrote a letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek asking that the streaming service remove artists responsible for or accused of sexual abuse including Chris Brown, 6ix9ine and more.

The group - founded in 2012 - lauded Spotify for taking the first steps in removing abusers from its platform after removing R. Kelly, XXXTentacion and Tay-K from its official playlists.

"Thank you for taking the important first step of removing infamous abusers R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from your official playlists," the letter says. "Your action demonstrates that Spotify is following the lead of Black women who demanded that these two men, who have sexually and physically abused women for years, not be promoted and celebrated.

Ultraviolet then asked that Spotify to remove more artists who are responsible for or have been accused of abuse including Chris Brown, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nelly, Eminem, Don Henley, Steven Tyler, and 6ix9ine.

The letter continued: "Every time a famous individual continues to be glorified despite allegations of abuse, we wrongly perpetuate silence by showing survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence that there will be no consequences for abuse. That has a cultural effect far beyond one individual artist."

Shaunna Thomas - Ultraviolet's executive director - hopes that the expansion of Spotify's hate content and hateful conduct guidelines will influence other streaming platforms.

"We publish this as an open letter because we hope other platforms like iTunes, Google Play Music, and Pandora will continue to follow your lead," she writes.

Last week, Spotify shared it's decision to remove R. Kelly from its playlists in a statement.

"We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly," Spotify told Billboard. "We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behaviour, but we want our editorial decisions - what we choose to program - to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator."

Kelly's team responded to Spotify's statement on BuzzFeed News denying any wrongdoing: "Spotify has the right to promote whatever music it chooses, and in this case its actions are without merit. It is acting based on false and unproven allegations. It is bowing to social-media fads and picking sides in a fame-seeking dispute over matters that have nothing to do with serving customers."

The latest move by Spotify to remove abusive artists stems from the Time's Up movement taking aim at Kelly, asking that his music be removed from streaming platforms and his concerts be cancelled.

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