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Fiona Apple Pledges Two Years of ‘Criminal’ Royalties to Refugees

Songwriter will donate TV, movie earnings from 1996 song to While They Wait fund

AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 28:  Singer-songwriter Fiona Apple performs onstage during The Austin Music Awards at ACL Live on February 28, 2018 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

Fiona Apple is donating the 2019 and 2020 earnings from TV and movie placements of her song "Criminal" to the While They Wait refugee fund.

Rick Kern/WireImage

Fiona Apple is donating the 2019 and 2020 earnings from TV and movie placements of her song “Criminal” to the While They Wait fund, which assists refugees with basic necessities, immigration fees and legal services.

“After months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help,” the singer-songwriter wrote on Tumblr, adding, “It seems to me that the best way I can help detainees is to contribute to payment of their legal fees.”

Apple said that “Criminal,” the Grammy-winning single from her 1996 debut LP, Tidal, is her “most requested song” for television and film spots. And money generated from the track will help refugees secure “representation and guidance.”

“When they are separated from their children they need help navigating the system,” she said. “They need to be bailed out of prison. They need money to pay for the ankle bracelets they are forced to rent and wear while awaiting arraignment, for crying out loud.”

She also urged other artists to take her lead and donate earnings from one song to While They Wait or another organization with a similar mission. “I could write a song about this, and maybe I will,” she said, “but for now, I will use ‘CRIMINAL’ to help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice.”

“We are humbled and blown away by Fiona Apple’s generous support for asylum seekers through the While They Wait Fund,” said reps from Brooklyn Defender Services and RAICES Texas, the two organizations that started the fund, in a joint statement. “There are over 1 million immigrants, including 300,000 asylum seekers, who are going through the legal steps to gain legal status. Release from detention is just the beginning of their struggle. Fiona Apple’s support will allow people to achieve self-sufficiency during their long, uncertain, and costly wait to see if they will be allowed to stay in the United States.”

Apple — who released her fourth and most recent LP, The Idler Wheel… in 2012 — recently teamed with Jakob Dylan to cover the Beach Boys’ “In My Room” for the Echo in the Canyon documentary.


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