The Recording Industry Association of America abruptly
pulled out of a highly publicized meeting that was to have taken place Friday
(February 21) with Connecticut Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman after it was
announced that music censorship proponents Empower America chief and former
Education Secretary William Bennett and National Political Congress of Black
Women member C. DeLores Tucker had been invited to attend.
executives of the "Big Six" record companies (PolyGram NV, Bertelsmann Music
Group, EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and Warner) were set to
meet with Lieberman, but canceled, explaining that the presence of
Bennett and Tucker changed the focus of the meeting.
In a letter sent to Lieberman yesterday, RIAA
president Hilary Rosen wrote: "...We were looking forward to a constructive
dialogue on this sensitive issue [music lyrics]. Unfortunately, with the
addition of William Bennett and C. DeLores Tucker, the meeting has taken a path
different from its original purpose.
"We stand ready to meet with you or
any elected official to discuss our business and the music we distribute.
However, Mr. Bennett and Ms. Tucker are not elected representatives. As
citizens, they are entitled to their opinion and indeed have already had their
day. They have berated our companies repeatedly in the press, they have
aggressively sought public forums to denigrate the personal motives of our
artists and executives, and most recently, they have gone to state legislatures
to blackball company stock investments..."