A group of musicians including Alicia Keys, members of R.E.M., the Roots, Alabama Shakes, Civil Wars, Drive-By Truckers and Talib Kweli have joined a campaign to push the Village Voice to stop running ads on Backpage.com advertising escorts, strip clubs and assorted adult services, the New York Times reports.
Village Voice Media, which includes 12 other alt-weeklies in addition to New York’s Village Voice, has been under harsh scrutiny for eight months for running the ads, which allegedly include services that exploit minors.
The musicians who have signed the petition against Village Voice Media’s practices are not alone in this fight. Last year all 51 of the United States’ attorneys general sent a letter to the company demanding that they remove the adult content from their Backpage.com, and a coalition of 600 religious leaders have put pressure on Village Voice Media by joining forces though the interfaith social justice group Groundswell. Major advertisers such as American Airlines and AT&T have dropped advertising from the company’s publications.
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R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills said in a statement that musicians speaking out against the Voice‘s practices despite their excellent music coverage “should send a clear message to the company that it needs to take action to ensure no child is sexually exploited through use of its site.”