“The good old boys they kept their trust despite the rising crime / Clean white robes, good strong ropes, they’re just doing fine,” sing Ian Stuart and the Klansmen in “Fetch the Rope,” the title track from the band’s rollicking 1989 release. “I said, don’t give up hope / Well they can cope / Don’t give up hope / Fetch that rope.”
The Klansmen’s album, along with dozens of others like it by white power bands such as Skrewdriver (which Ian Stuart Donaldson also led), Young Blood, Absurd, Bilskirnir and Arghoslent, is available on digital music retailers Spotify and Amazon to anyone who cares to listen.
One place fans will no longer find it and many other white power staples, however, is iTunes, which removed 21 such bands and has 33 others under review in the wake of a report published in the Winter 2014 issue of Intelligence Report.
As the report pointed out, iTunes’ terms of service prohibit content that is, among other things, “obscene, objectionable, and in poor taste.” But until recently, it sold the Bully Boys’ “Fire Up the Ovens,” featuring the Holocaust-inspired lyrics, “We’re going to burn until the last Jew burns … Fire up the ovens; let’s do it again,” and “Jigrun,” about driving African Americans out of towns.
“Apple is doing the right thing by preventing iTunes from being used as a recruitment tool for white supremacists,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which publishes the Report. “Amazon and other online retailers that continue to sell this music need to realize that they are providing a powerful platform for extremists to reach young people with messages that advocate hate and violence against African Americans, Jews and others.”
Amazon continues to distribute and profit from white power music in spite of a policy that would seem to offer it an easy way to stop. “Listings for items that Amazon deems offensive are prohibited on Amazon.com,” reads the online retailer’s offensive products disclaimer, which, in addition to Amazon’s participation agreement, governs the Amazon marketplace. “Examples of Prohibited Listings: Products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such view.”
Spotify, meanwhile, has said it uses a list produced by Germany’s Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons to identify artists and music that should be removed. Users can also flag content for review. But at press time, Spotify has not removed any songs from a list of hate music provided by the SPLC.