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AHADC Efforts Leads to Sony Apology to Hindus : Offending CD Cover to Be Withdrawn Immediately

The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition (AHADC), is pleased to announce that on April 16, 1997, the senior lawyer for Sony Music & Entertainment, Inc., New York, (Sony), Mr. Joseph Salvo, contacted the attorney for AHADC, Mr. Chetan P. Tanna, and issued an apology on behalf of Sony/Columbia to the entire Hindu community for the offensive cover of the CD “Nine Lives” by a rock group, Aerosmith.

The cover of the CD “Nine Lives” portrayed a distorted and offensive picture of Hindu God, Shree Krishna, which infuriated thousands of Hindus around the world. Over 10 Hindu organizations, representing thousands of Hindus had joined the AHADC in its protest against the Sony/Columbia/Aerosmith trio.

The AHADC had set up a protest site,

which was visited by about 10,000 people in two weeks, and over 1,400 persons signed individual on-line protest letters to SONY, Columbia and Aerosmith, and several stores selling this CD.

Sony’s senior counsel said, “Sony could not ignore thousands of messages from the Hindus around the world, and had decided to immediately stop the production of said CD.

AHADC and SONY Corporation, have verbally agreed that :

1. As of today, SONY will stop manufacturing the CD, until the cover is changed.

2. SONY will try to recall the CDs from the market as much as possible.

3. SONY will provide the AHADC with the new cover for AHADC’s approval before publication. SONY will not use any Hindu religious symbols in any form.

4. SONY will issue a public apology to the Hindus in the Hindu/India related publications, in the U.S., as well as in India, and also on the SONY website called SonyOnLine. (www.music.sony.com.)

The AHADC appreciates SONY’s decision in response to the protest by the Hindu community around the world. The AHADC would especially like to thank Blockbuster Music for assuring us earlier that they will not sell the CD, unless the offensive cover was changed.

The AHADC believes that SONY’s actions are the due to the unity, determination and hard work by the Hindu community. We thank the Hindu organizations, who joined the AHADC, and all individuals who signed the online protest and/or sent e-mail and letters to SONY/Columbia/Aerosmith and to the stores selling this CD. A notable aspect of this protest movement was that we received support also from our non-Hindu friends
and well-wishers!

The AHADC was convened by VHP of America (World Hindu Council of America), represented by Ajay Shah, Chetan P. Tanna, Vaani Chawla, and Rajiv Dutta

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AHADC Calls for Continuation of Protest since SONY has not yet apologized in writing and Major Stores Continue to Sell the “Nine Lives” CD

We note with great regret and dismay that the Hindu community has still not received any written apology from SONY Music for offending Hindus. Although SONY has changed most parts of its website, the promotional picture at this link still remains.

We also note with great concern that the CD, which has offended so many Hindus has still not been pulled from the major stores that are selling it.

We present here, a link to the apology by Aerosmith, which was sent to several news organizations. We were sent a copy of this press release by Mr. Joseph Salvo, Senior Counsel for SONY Music and Entertainment.

We urge the community to continue writing strong letters to SONY music and the stores to recall “Nine Lives” CD.

If SONY Music and the departmental stores do not withdraw this CD and if the written apology from SONY Music is not forthcoming, the Hindu community will be forced to consider stronger action, including boycott of the products made by SONY and legal action against SONY in India and other countries.

In order to facilitate writing protest letters to the stores, we have now created a single link, by clicking here you can send letters to all the major stores still selling “Nine Lives” (this feature works for Netsacpe, if it does not work for your browser, please select individual addresses from the menu below)

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Draft Letter To Sony/Columbia

This is to advise you that your new Columbia release, Nine Lives has the CD cover which is a DISTORTED AND VERY INSULTING depiction of Lord Krishna, the Hindu God, whom millions of Hindus worship all over the world.

It is clear that you and your artist distorted and defaced the original and UNIVERSALLY REVERED picture which shows Lord Krishna conquering the great serpent Kalinag. Your act of putting a face of a cat in place of Krishna’s is not only outrageous beyond any measure but also very insulting to the entire Hindu community worldwide. Also showing Krishna wearing a blouse is extremely offensive. This CD cover chosen by you is analogous to showing Lord Jesus on the cross with a cat’s face wearing a bikini.

On behalf of the entire Hindu community I demand that you IMMEDIATELY STOP SALE OF THIS CD, AND CHANGE COMPLETELY ITS COVER. Keep in mind that commercial free speech is not well protected.

If you decide not to do so, the Hindu community will picket your concerts, the record company headquarters, boycott your products (SONY & COLUMBIA), and take both of you to the Federal Court to seek permanent injunction and damages. It is also very clear to me that you will not be able to give any concerts in India forever, and will quickly loose popularity there.

Statement Issued by Aerosmith to the media

In response to Aerosmith’s deep concern and dismay at the notion of having offended any religious group by the image on the cover of their recently released album, Nine Lives, the five band members have requested that their record label, Columbia Records, immediately cease manufacturing the cover artwork. They also asked that the image be replaced in all future manufacturing runs with a new and completely different design.

The original album cover image, as presented to Aerosmith, was selected for its aesthetic qualities and its consistency with both the album’s conceptual and graphic themes. Up until the time of the album’s release, the band was unaware that this particular image was inspired by an original painting in a book written by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and published by the Bhaktivedanta Trust, an affiliated organization. Upon being informed of the origin of this image, the band, in order to avoid any perceived infringements or potential conflict or embarrassment for any group, went through all of the proper channels to obtain licensing approvals for its use from this Trust. Having obtained this permission Aerosmith believed that no further issues existed.

At no point in the development of the album packaging did the band, or anyone else involved in this project, intend to harm or show disrespect to the Hindu community or any other religious group, nor did they intend to denigrate any religious image.

Aerosmith sincerely apologizes for any offense, however unintended, caused by the Nine Lives artwork.

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Sony/Columbia Disfigure Lord Krishna’s Picture on Aerosmith’s “Nine Lives” Album

We note with great regret and dismay that the Hindu community has still not received any written apology from SONY Music for offending Hindus. Although SONY has changed most parts of its website, the promotional picture at this link still remains.

We also note with great concern that the CD, which has offended so many Hindus has still not been pulled from the major stores that are selling it.

We present here, a link to the apology by Aerosmith, which was sent to several news organizations. We were sent a copy of this press release by Mr. Joseph Salvo, Senior Counsel for SONY Music and Entertainment.

We urge the community to continue writing strong letters to SONY music and the stores to recall “Nine Lives” CD.

If SONY Music and the departmental stores do not withdraw this CD and if the written apology from SONY Music is not forthcoming, the Hindu community will be forced to consider stronger action, including boycott of the products made by SONY and legal action against SONY in India and other countries.

In order to facilitate writing protest letters to the stores, we have now created a single link, by clicking here you can send letters to all the major stores still selling “Nine Lives” (this feature works for Netsacpe, if it does not work for your browser, please select individual addresses from the menu below)