Amnesty International Apologizes to Iggy Pop for 'Ironic' Torture Ad

The human rights organization has also removed the image of the Dalai Lama from its digital ad materials

Iggy Pop in Madrid, Spain on May 13th, 2013.
Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage/Getty Images
June 24, 2014 2:50 PM ET

On Tuesday, Amnesty International admitted that a Belgian anti-torture ad campaign featuring an image of Iggy Pop used the singer's image without permission and apologized for the error.

The original image featured the singer's face bloodied and beaten and, in French, quoted him as saying, "The future of rock & roll is Justin Bieber"; its message was, "Torture a man, and he will tell you anything." The campaign also featured the likenesses of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and the Dalai Lama. In a statement, the human rights organization said that while it acted in good faith, it wanted to apologize to Pop for putting words in his mouth.

How Amnesty International Rocked the World: The Inside Story

"The overall goal of this campaign is to try to influence people's ideas on the use of torture," the statement reads. "According to surveys, a shocking number of people believe that 'torture may sometimes be useful'; more than 36 percent of people even think that torture is justified in some cases. This is unacceptable, and we illustrate this reality with the message that a man who is tortured will say anything in order to escape this awfulness, using provocative images and statements to attract public attention.

"We would therefore also like to make it clear that the statement attributed to Iggy Pop that he believes Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll does not represent Iggy Pop's personal opinion but was part of the creative process for this campaign and was intended to be ironic."

The organization also said that it was removing the photo of Dalai Lama from its digital material "in order not to cause any further upset." The organization apologized for distressing people with the image.

Pop shared the statement via his Twitter account.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »