Johnny Cash’s Label Forces White Nationalist Program to Stop Music Use
A daily audio program devoted to promoting white nationalist topics has dropped a Johnny Cash song from its theme after his record label threatened legal action.
NPR reports that the white nationalist group Stormfront has been using Cash's recording of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" as the intro for its daily news program, Stormfront Radio. The organization received a cease-and-desist letter from Universal Music Group and American Recordings on Sept. 5, threatening legal action if they did not discontinue using Cash's song.
NPR obtained the text of the letter, which was addressed to Rense Radio Network, the organization that posts Stormfront Radio's content online, and to Stormfront founder Don Black, who is a former Ku Klux Klan leader. The letter accuses Stormfront of "unlawfully exploiting" Cash's music.
Stormfront responded by not only removing the song, but removing three years worth of archived shows that contained Cash's music, according to the report, but they did so begrudgingly. In his show opening on Sept. 6, Stormfront Radio host Patrick Slattery stated, "These Jews are trying to crack down on us every way they can ... Who else is going to go after our theme music, really? The music industry is an industry they have been dominating since Tin Pan Alley ... they dominate the music industry today, that's for sure."
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The legal threat came a month after Cash's children denounced white supremacy after one of the white nationalists at the Charlottesville "Unite the Right" rally was shown wearing a Johnny Cash T-shirt, saying they were "sickened by the association."
"Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice. He received humanitarian awards from, among others, the Jewish National Fund, B’nai Brith, and the United Nations,” Rosanne Cash, Kathy Cash, Cindy Cash, Tara Cash and John Carter Cash wrote in a statement via Facebook. "He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred."
Rosanne Cash turned to Twitter after Stormfront stopped using her father's music, writing, "Very proud we threatened legal action and got hate radio to stop using my dad's music."
It's the latest in a series of blows to Stormfront. NPR reports that the group's website is down after both Google and GoDaddy refused to host their content.
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