Light Organ/604 Records' Jonathan Simkin Apologizes Following Backlash over Controversial Junos Tweet

Light Organ/604 Records' Jonathan Simkin Apologizes Following Backlash over Controversial Junos Tweet
The head of Vancouver's 604 Records and Light Organ Records has apologized after receiving a wave of backlash over a controversial tweet regarding the Juno Awards.

The labels' Jonathan Simkin (also of Simpkin Artist Management) took to Twitter earlier this month on July 10 to air his grievances with the selection of performers included during the 2018 Juno Awards broadcast, which included Daniel Caesar, the Jerry Cans, Jessie Reyez, Lights, Barenaked Ladies and more.

Simkin's now-deleted tweet, which has been archived by Vancouver Is Awesome below, reads, "Just signed a new band. 2 guys, 2 gals. One is Indian, One is Korean, one is black, and one is physically impaired. I call them 'The Inclusive 4.' Their music sucks balls — just horrible — but I figure they are a shoo-in to get on @TheJUNOAwards broadcast next year."
The ensuing blowback to Simkin's comments came from musicians and listeners alike, leading to him temporarily deleting his entire account.
After Vancouver Is Awesome reached out for comment, Simkin told the site he deleted his account after the tweet "snowballed" and that his tweet was meant to point out that "when decisions are made just on the colour of someone's skin, that scares me."

Simkin then provided a full statement to the site that was published today. In the statement, he called the post "a poor attempt made in bad taste to address a serious issue," adding, "I deeply regret my choice of words in trying to make that point."

"Upon reflection, I can see that the comments were horribly insensitive, and I understand why some people have been hurt by those words," he continued. "To those people, I apologize. It was not my intent to cause hurt, or to cause people who feel disenfranchised to feel even more disenfranchised.

"Inclusion is extremely important, and necessary. Inclusion needs to be a big part of any discussion when it comes to the music business, the media and the world around us. I feel confident that an examination of my decisions in hiring staff, in signing artists, and in how I conduct my affairs and personal life say much more about where my heart is on the issue of inclusion than a carelessly worded tweet sent from a hotel room after midnight."

Simkin concluded by writing that he "will have more to say about this in the coming weeks and months, but I felt it important to address this now."

You can find his complete statement below.

Thursday July 19, 2018

A statement from Jonathan Simkin;

Last week I tweeted something about the Juno Awards that I wish to speak to. The tweet was a poor attempt made in bad taste to address a serious issue. I deeply regret my choice of words in trying to make that point.

Upon reflection, I can see that the comments were horribly insensitive, and I understand why some people have been hurt by those words. To those people, I apologize. It was not my intent to cause hurt, or to cause people who feel disenfranchised to feel even more disenfranchised.

So let me be clear, here and now. Inclusion is extremely important, and necessary. Inclusion needs to be a big part of any discussion when it comes to the music business, the media and the world around us. I feel confident that an examination of my decisions in hiring staff, in signing artists, and in how I conduct my affairs and personal life say much more about where my heart is on the issue of inclusion than a carelessly worded tweet sent from a hotel room after midnight.

Going forward, I am committed to being much more careful in my words. I will have more to say about this in the coming weeks and months, but I felt it important to address this now.

Jonathan Simkin