Fans watching Pearl Jam’s Lollapalooza headlining set on Sunday via AT&T’s live Webcast may have noticed an unexpected silence during the band’s politically charged version of “Daughter.” The band posted a letter on their official site yesterday addressing the matter, asking whether their performance was intentionally censored by AT&T.
When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them. During the performance of “Daughter” the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” but were cut from the webcast:
“George Bush, leave this world alone.” (the second time it was sung); and “George Bush find yourself another home.”
Pearl Jam said the missing footage brings up the bigger issue of Net neutrality, the dispute over whether Internet companies can decide what should and shouldn’t be broadcast on their networks. The band promised fans they would post the complete version of the song on their site and take steps to prevent such an incident from occurring again. Pearl Jam also asked fans to alert them if they had witnessed any examples of AT&T censoring other band Webcasts due to political content.
Over the last few years, AT&T has partnered with major festivals such as Lollapalooza, Coachella and Bonnaroo to live broadcast select performances in their “Blue Room,” and the festivals as well as the bands playing them have continuously promoted the Blue Room to their fans. In a statement to blog GigOM, AT&T said the Pearl Jam incident was “not intended, but rather a mistake by one of the webcast editors,” adding that editing policies were in place not to censor sets, but to cut down on excessive profanity since the broadcasts are not age-restricted. AT&T also confirmed they are working with Pearl Jam to post the original, uncut version of the song, though no date has been announced.
UPDATE: To compare the edited and unedited versions of “Daughter” on Pearl Jam’s site, click here.