And (Social) Justice For All: Social Media's New Effect on Musician Behaviour

2015 in Lists

BY Stephen CarlickPublished Jan 18, 2016

As social media's influence continues to grow, so too does the potential for artists to seriously damage their reputation by posting something stupid or offensive there. It also gives the people a platform to be heard like never before; in 2015, the social media backlash against foolishness was swift, and it was strong.
Action Bronson
The self-proclaimed "Mr. Wonderful" got ousted from NXNE's marquee headlining slot last year. An online petition to ban Action Bronson from playing Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square due to offensive and misogynist lyrics took off when artists like Austra tweeted a petition link, and Bronson, who seemed to find it funny at first, was maddened, apparently declining NXNE's invitation to play a more private venue.
Sun Kil Moon
In 2014, Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek dragged out a one-sided feud with the War on Drugs on social media and recorded the song "War on Drugs: Suck My Cock." In 2015, he got into it with Ottawa's CityFolk Fest, and recorded the woefully misdirected tune "The Ottawa Blues Fest Is Run by Inbreds." (Wrong festival.) Judging by response online, and the widespread sharing of Meredith Graves' (of Perfect Pussy) well-written piece on Kozelek, not many people are left in Sun Kil Moon's corner.
Viet Cong
Perhaps the most newsworthy example of pigheadedness last year was that of Calgary's Viet Cong, who refused to change their name despite widespread, vehement outcry at its offensiveness. The band's name has inspired countless urgent think pieces, and their shows are now attracting protests across North America. They've promised to swap names, but as of this writing, it remains unchanged.
San Francisco's Whirr were dropped from their primary record label and a number of others after the band issued a series of transphobic tweets at Olympia hardcore band G.L.O.S.S. The band apologized and blamed the incident on a "friend" who supposedly ran their Twitter account, but it fell on deaf ears.

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