ADL Says Record Label Response to Complaint About Public Enemy Song "Swindler's Lust" Unacceptable
New York, New York, June 22, 1999
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it
found "completely unacceptable" the response of Atomic Pop Records to concerns
the title and lyrics of a new Public Enemy song issued on its label are anti-Semitic and
offensive to Jews.
"Denying the existence of anti-Semitism doesnt make the problem go
away," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The record companys
response to the Public Enemy song Swindlers Lust is completely
Mr. Foxman said that while the League respects the First Amendment rights of Public
Enemy, it remains "deeply offended" at both the lyrics and the record
companys response to ADL concerns. "Now were going to exercise our First
Amendment rights by standing up and calling this unambiguous anti-Semitism."
In a June 17 letter to record company executives, Mr. Foxman said he was "outraged
and offended" by the title and lyrics to `Swindlers Lust on the new Public
Enemy album Theres a Poison Goin On, which he said makes obvious references
to Jews and the Holocaust. Mr. Foxman said the songs lyrics contain "classic
anti-Semitic code words and seem to blame Jews for the plight of financially
Liz Morentin, Vice President of Media Relations for Atomic Pop, said today in a written
response that the lyrics contain "no anti-Semitic references. We support artistic
freedom, yet we are aware that art is always subject to interpretation."
Aside from the title, a play on the Steven Spielberg movie "Schindlers
List," the songs lyrics make references to the Holocaust and the six million,
according to Foxman.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.