Over 800 musicians call for boycott of Amazon over ICE contracts

Jeff Rosenstock, Deerhoof and Guy Picciotto of Fugazi among hundreds who sign ‘No Music For ICE’ open letter.

A large group of musicians have signed an open letter announcing their intention to boycott any festivals or events organised by Amazon until the company stops working with the US’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

The letter was put out by No Music For ICE – a campaign run by nonprofit advocacy group Fight For The Future – and called for Amazon Web Services to end its association with ICE, US Customs & Border Patrol and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The boycott was sparked by the announcement of a music festival organised by AWS called Intersect due to be held in Las Vegas in December, which was branded as a place where “music, technology, and art converge”. However, the festival attracted negative publicity when earlier this month when DJ The Black Madonna dropped out once she became aware of Amazon’s involvement: something she alleges was not made clear until after she signed the performance contract.

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The festival instead seems to have spawned this boycott and open-letter, which condemns Amazon not just for its involvement with the aforementioned government agencies, but also calls for an end to its involvement with controversial Facial Recognition technology, which it has sold to law enforcement agencies. The technology has been shown to exhibit biases along lines of skin colour and gender presentation.

“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 reads. “We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us.”

Musicians who have signed the letter include Greg Saunier of the band Deerhoof, Immortal Technique, Jeff Rosenstock, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi and Hurray For The Riff Raff.

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