Banning Content of Dubious Performers

When artists are exposed for reprehensible views or illegal actions, fans are faced with a difficult dilemma. Continue to enjoy the creative output of the likes of Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, R. Kelly or Kevin Spacey, or focus instead on the works of less dubious artists. Some are able to separate the art from the artist, allowing them to continue to enjoy the works of Louis Ferdinand Céline or Gary Glitter, but many others find it more difficult. When it comes to consuming art curated by others, the discussion reaches the level of content providers, like streaming platforms or broadcasters. Do they have the moral right or even an obligation to remove the repertoire of shady people – not to be confused with constroversial content – or ist this an illegitimate approach, a form of moral censorship? And if they do „scrub“ their repertoire, where shall they draw the line in times of public prejudgments? What exactly are the criteria for being deemed unfit for the platform or station? Spotify, for instance, removed XXXTentacion and R. Kelly from their playlists. In early 2019, after a public outcry, they reversed the ban and announced a new function that allowed users to mute and block artists themselves. Is telling users „You deal with it“ a good way out of this complex situation?

Speakers: Karl Fluch (Der Standard, AT), IVan Novak (Laibach, SI), Maria Scharl (AT)

Moderation: Susi Ondrusová (FM4, AT)

Waves Vienna 2019 2019