Cincinnati Artists Join 'No Music for ICE!' Boycott of Amazon Over Company’s Ties to the Immigration Enforcement Agency

Among the 800-plus bands, musicians and record labels that signed an open letter to Amazon over human rights concerns are Cincinnati-rooted acts WHY? and The Ophelias

Oct 25, 2019 at 11:49 am

click to enlarge The Ophelias - Photo: Katerina Voegtle
Photo: Katerina Voegtle
The Ophelias

Over 800 bands, musicians and record labels have signed an open letter to Amazon announcing their intention to boycott the company's events and festivals until it severs ties with various organizations they deem human rights violators.

In a notice posted at the website, the  'No Music for ICE!' participants said they would not perform at the upcoming music and art festival Intersect in Las Vegas — presented by Amazon's AWS web hosting services —  in protest of the company's business arrangements with various government agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

"It has recently come to light that Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary with known ties to ICE and law enforcement, is hosting a festival marketed as an experience 'where music, technology, and art converge,'" the letter states "We the undersigned artists are outraged that Amazon continues to provide the technical backbone for ICE’s human rights abuses."

The letter further states that the artists would not participate in any Amazon-affiliated events or "engage in exclusive partnerships with Amazon in the future" until the company meets the demands listed below.

* 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.

"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," the letter continues. "We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us."

Among the hundreds of musicians to sign the letter are Cincinnati-rooted acts WHY? and The Ophelias (both acts record for the major indie label Joyful Noise).

Damnably Records, the London-based label that has released music by Cincinnati acts Leggy and Wussy overseas, also signed. 

Other signees include Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Atmosphere, Car Seat Headrest, Chastity Belt, Colleen Green, DIIV, Diet Cig, Ted Leo, Deerhoof, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Girlpool, Landlady, Lee Bains III, Matt Sweeney, New Bomb Turks, of Montreal, Pictureplane, Shilpa Ray, Zola Jesus, YACHT, Wolf Parade, Vivian Girls and The Mowgli’s.

The list of artists joining the protest is growing. Artists can sign their names here.

Read more about the Amazon/ICE connections here.

Find the latest updates on the protest at @NoMusicForICE.

UPDATE: The lists of artists and companies who've signed the letter now numbers over 1,000.



Don Giovanni Records, Euphoriadic Records,