On the same day that the American Academy of Pediatrics called for the
recording industry to go further in labeling albums with drug-related, sexual
and violent content, saying that it was "greatly concerned that negative
behavioral messages" were being promoted by many popular acts, Seagram's
Universal Studios, the company that distributes Interscope Records (Snoop Doggy
Dogg, 2Pac, Marilyn Manson, NIN, Primus, Toadies) again came under attack for
allegedly going back on its promise not to distribute music with explicit
At a news conference organized by William Bennett, Senator Joseph
Lieberman and C. DeLores Tucker, the trio pursed their lips and wagged their
fingers at Seagram's Chairman Edgar Bronfman, who they said assured them a year
ago that "MCA [which is controlled by Seagram's and distributes Interscope]
would not profit from disseminating music which is objectionable," according to
a Reuters report.
The trio used lyrics from "Irresponsible Hate
Anthem," on Marilyn Manson's latest album, Antichrist Superstar ("Hey
victim, should I black your eyes again? ... my hate's a prism. Let's just kill
everyone and let your God sort them out") to make their point. They also noted
the graphic depiction of a naked torso seemingly feeding two others from his
codpiece, and used it as an example of how, as Lieberman put it, "These records
and their corporate sponsors are telling our children it's the season of
senseless violence, hopelessness and the most awful ill will toward each other,
Much of the right-wing attack focused on the albums
released by Interscope Records, which Seagrams, through MCA, acquired a 50 per
cent share of last year. Those albums include work from gangsta rappers Snoop
Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur...
MCA issued the following response yesterday (Tues., Dec.
10): "MCA takes this issue seriously, and is dedicated to finding a viable
balance between its artists, the preferences and demands of audiences in the
marketplace, and its corporate responsibility."
Bennett, clearly not
mollified by what he described as a "candid and contentious" phone call from
Bronfman on Monday, said, "We are here today because Seagrams-MCA is peddling
filth for profit and reneging on a moral commitment it made when it purchased
the rights to Interscope... MCA's word is no good. MCA cannot be trusted. They
are willing to make money even if it promotes the worst kind of sleaze."
Reuters also reported that Bob Bernstein, a spokesman for MCA, said the
company "through its review process, has identified and declined to release
some objectionable music." Although no specific examples were given, Tupac's
previous album All Eyez On Me, was not disctributed by MCA, and
according to Recording Industry Association of America president Hilary Rosen,
MCA recently declined to distribute Death Row Greatest Hits .
According to the prepared statement issued by MCA: "This is a subjective
process and not everyone will always agree with these decisions."
seemingly concurred, saying, "Sometimes, you know, any company's choices are
going to disappoint self-appointed moral guardians like Bill Bennett, but the
process is in place, and it works in the marketplace."
The trio later
lamented that the campaign they started last year against objectionable
music--with sponsorship from media giant Time-Warner, as well as Sony, BMG, EMI
and Polygram--had, for the most part, "fallen on deaf ears."