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.
“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.