Apple has removed music with racial supremacy–themed messages from iTunes, following scrutiny from the Southern Poverty Law Center (via Noisey). The winter edition of the organization’s “Intelligence Report” criticized the company for offering music by white-power groups like Skrewdriver, Max Resist and the Bully Boys, as well as offering a “Listeners Also Bought” feature that suggested like-minded hatemongers.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed to Rolling Stone that music was removed. The company was not involved in the creation of SPLC’s report, but took some of the music down as a result of the publication. A SPLC spokesperson tells Rolling Stone that he compiled the list from monitoring 15 to 20 white-power websites, combing through the catalogs of defunct white-power label Resistance Records and cross-checking to see if they were hateful.
Rolling Stone has explored iTunes’ store and it appears that several, but not all, of the offending groups on SPLC’s list have been removed. (Although Skrewdriver’s records are not available, an album billed as a tribute to the band by another artist is still available.)
The SPLC investigation uncovered 54 racist bands on the service and is reporting that 30 of them have been removed. It also reinforced its disapproval of Amazon for continuing to offer digital retail space to hateful artists. The organization, which previously condemned Spotify, reports that the streaming service judges its content by Germany’s Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (the “BPjM,” per Germany’s acronym); it claims that Spotify has yet to remove music by the artists it identified.
“We take this very seriously,” a rep for Spotify told Rolling Stone. “Content – artists and music – listed by the BPjM in Germany is proactively removed from our service. We’re a global company, so we use the BPjM index as a global standard for these issues. Other potentially hateful or objectionable content that is flagged by uses or others but not on the BPjM list is handled on a case by case basis.”
“Apple is doing the right thing by preventing iTunes from being used as a recruitment tool for white supremacists,” Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said in a statement. “Amazon and other online retailers that continue to sell this music need to realize that they are providing a powerful platform for extremists to reach young people with messages that advocate hate and violence against African Americans, Jews and others.”
A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on the report and its recommendations.
As the SPLC reported, it is unknown just how much profit supremacist music was making on iTunes.