Women’s advocacy group UltraViolet is condemning Spotify’s decision to roll back its “hateful conduct” policy that banned R. Kelly, XXXTentacion and other musicians from its curated playlists, saying the act puts “profits over people.”
In a statement issued Friday (June 1), following Spotify’s announcement of its retracted policy, UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said her organization would not forget the streaming service’s decision, which she characterized as “normalizing violence against women.”
“Two weeks ago, Spotify declared that, ‘we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values.’ Now, we know exactly what those values are: profits over people, and music industry bigwigs over survivors of abuse,” Thomas wrote. “When music platforms promote abusers, they allow those abusers to reap in profits, lining their pockets in royalties and expanding their fan bases. This normalizes violence against women. Spotify’s values are now clear for all to see: Abusers take priority over survivors of their crimes. We will not forget their decision.”
Last month, UltraViolet praised Spotify’s “hateful conduct” policy, while also calling for the removal of even more artists — including Chris Brown, Nelly, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Eminem, among others.
Spotify’s decision to backtrack the policy was due to an outspoken negative response from some in music community, who called it an act of censorship.
In a statement released Friday morning, Spotify said, “We don’t aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans — and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that. Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists.”