The music industry is under attack again this week. The first volley came from
an old friend of the music and obscenity debate, Jack Thompson, the gentleman
who managed to get a 2 Live Crew album declared obscene by a Florida judge in
1988. Thompson is urging the U.S. Army to stop advertising on MTV, because he
claims the video station shows "some of the most disturbing, graphic
pornography depicting women as mere sexual objects," according to Daily
Thompson reportedly wrote in a letter faxed to Secretary of
Defense William Cohen that "the link between pornography and sexual abuse is
irrefutable" and that the screening of Army recruitment commercials on MTV is
"highly inappropriate" at a time when the Army is reeling from a string of
recent sexual abuse allegations against senior officers and enlisted men.
Thompson took issue with what he called MTV's "objectification of women."
This is not the first time Thompson has taken on MTV. In December,
Thompson sent a letter to the lawyers for Viacom, MTV's parent company,
threatening a boycott of the station unless it "clean(s) up its broadcasts and
stop(s) mentally molesting an entire generation."
Connecticut Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman, has called upon the senior
executives of the "Big Six" record companies (PolyGram NV, Bertelsmann Music
Group, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner) to meet with
him this Friday (February 21) to discuss the "state of the music
Lieberman, who has again teamed with Empower America chief
and former Education Secretary William Bennett, will preside over the event,
which is the first in which high-ranking label executives will meet
face-to-face with these politicians.
It is expected that Bennett, who in
the past has joined with Lieberman and National Political Congress of Black
Women member C. Delores Tucker to lead very public attacks on Interscope
Records, will again take issue with that label's gangsta rap releases,
specifically those on Death Row Records, which the trio have blasted in the
past for their "objectionable" content. Universal, which is owned by Seagram
Co. Ltd., bought a $200 million half-share in Interscope a year ago after the
Warner Music Group sold its shares due to intense pressure from Tucker and
One of the reasons the meeting is unusual is because it marks the
first time such high-ranking executives will participate, in place of the
lower-level label representatives who usually handle defense for the record
companies. It also marks the first time the trio have held closed-door meetings
with label executives, rather than press conferences, like the one last year in
which they accused Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. of going back on his promise
not to distribute albums by artists they deemed offensive, such as Snoop Doggy
Dogg and slain rapper Tupac Shakur.
Daily Variety also reported
that executives at the Recording Industry Assn. of America suggested Bennett's
crusade is more likely about boosting sales of his family-values oriented books
than cleaning up the "already self-policing labels."