Descendents – update on LP boycott
An update on campaign to boycott Descendents new LP
I’m going to aim to post a fuller update soon but the level of abuse we’ve been getting from US based fans of the band Descendents has been quite overwhelming. They’ve thrown every imaginable insult, which has taken me back to the school playground of the 1970s. A place where the word ‘Spaz’ (in our opinion) should stay and now be forgotten.
These Descendents fans are a confusing mix of people who claim to be hard nosed punks and so we should just deal with it, but also have taken real offence at us doing this. Bless them! Just shows the power of words!
Yesterday things took a nasty turn though with fans trying to sabotage our website and Facebook page so we’re going to have to take the petition down soon because it’s causing us too much agro. (Although we’ve never seen so many hits on our website and it’s the first thing we’ve ever done that has gone truly ‘viral’ – so there’s some positives I suppose!). But thank you to everyone who has signed – all 201 of you!
Weirdly too quite a few fans have taken exception at us using the image and satirising it (crudely I know!) – I thought that was all in the spirit of punk!
I’ve decided to try and get a comment from the band on all this and have written this open letter to them. Will let you know if we receive a reply.
Open letter to Descendents
23rd July ‘16
Dear Bill, Milo, Karl and Stephen
I’m the director of a charity which promotes the rights of people with developmental disabilities to having an active social life and enjoying live music.
One of the things we campaign about is language and how this can marginalise people and so I was really disappointed to read this article about your new records on Real Gone Rocks and your use of the word ‘Spaz’.
Spaz is a really offensive word in the UK and often used in disability hate related crimes. We don’t like it and have done a lot of work raising awareness with kids around the damage language can cause.
However, I’ve been told under no uncertain terms that not only are you lovely people who wouldn’t want to hurt anyone, and that the word has a totally different meaning in the US. This has then been followed up by homophobic abuse, racist language, suggestions that I kill myself, or go and do some complicated sexual activity to myself.
Your fans have also been trying to sabotage our website and Facebook page, which is not cool. We’re a small charity trying to change the world for the better in our way, and to try and prevent us from doing that is really low.
We’ve also been accused of profiteering through misappropriating the Milo image – we haven’t made a penny out of this, and we were just trying to do the age old punk thing, and use a bit of satire.
We’ve expressed an opinion and been vilified by Descendents fans who tell me to shut up because everyone should have the right to free speech. (Who says people from the USA can’t do irony!).
The reason I’m writing though is that this has now all got too much. We were trying to make a point about language and start a debate. I don’t enjoy receiving hateful abuse. Yesterday things got even worse when one of your fans threatened me with violence.
So this open letter is to say we’re pulling the petition, of course we’ll be encouraging people in the UK not to buy your record as the title is potentially damaging to people with disabilities, but I would appreciate a comment from the band about what you think about all this.
Check out this vlog which explains why ‘casual ableist’ language is so harmful