“Hypocrisy is the problem”: George Lynch addresses resurfaced Peavey prison labour allegations

The guitarist first made the allegations, which Peavey categorically denies, back in 2018.

George Lynch

George Lynch during Crossroads Guitar Festival – Day Two at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, United States. (Photo by Jun Sato/WireImage)

George Lynch has commented on Peavey‘s demand for a retraction of his recently resurfaced allegations of them apparently using forced prison labour in the manufacture of its amplifiers.

Lynch had initially made the allegations in 2018 and they were recently brought back into the limelight by YouTuber KDH. KDH noted that Lynch was a Peavey artist in the 2000s but left before he could release a signature amplifier, and implied in a video that the allegations he would go on to make could have been another reason for him to leave. At the time, his departure was suggested to be a mix of contract disagreements and the departure of the amp designer he was working with.

Lynch alleged he had discovered Peavey used forced prison labour while visiting their headquarters in Meridian, Mississippi, while he was a Peavey artist.

“The town sort of exists for two things – it’s the headquarters of Peavey, and there’s a lot of prisons,” he alleged at the time. “And I also found out, a lot of the prisoners work for Peavey.

“I don’t think having slaves do your work, for for-profit corporations, is the right thing to do. But the thing is, they’ll get away with it, which they were.”

He also claimed Peavey asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), so that he’d “promise to never reveal the fact that they use prison labour to build their amps” and he refused.

A spokesperson for the brand categorically denied the allegations, telling Guitar.com in August that  “Lynch is apparently confused with some other manufacturer or story that he was told, and is mistaken in his comment about Peavey using prison labour.”

Now, Lynch has finally broken his silence over Peavey’s demand for a retraction in an upcoming interview with Guitar World.

“Hypocrisy is the problem. The thing that the incident reveals to me, as it should for everybody else, is a much larger political and economic problem,” Lynch says.

“It’s the idea that profits are more important than people,” he continues. “We need to mature as a society and align our priorities with what is inherently and morally the right way to exist and be truly good to each other.”

Guitar World reports that he did not elaborate any further.

In 1865, the USA’s 13th Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. However, it made an exemption for forced labour as a punishment for a crime. This has led to the modern system where working inmates are paid far below minimum wage – sometimes as low as 23 cents an hour – for their labour. Some restrictions apply to the system – some laws require prisoners to be paid full minimum wage if the work is being done for for-profit companies, however this isn’t always the case.

While use of this system by companies is legal, it’s rarely viewed positively. Activists and critics point to prison labour as one of the many unjust aspects of the US penal system, due to its strong roots in actual slavery – and issues like poorer safety, lack of training and bad labour protection for inmate workers.

The outlet approached Peavey for comment, but the company pointed to its previous statement made to Guitar.com and declined to comment further.

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