Music

Amnesty apologises to Iggy Pop over Justin Bieber torture poster

Iggy Pop never said that Justin Bieber is “the future of rock” – even if he was supposedly “tortured”.

Amnesty International Belgium has apologised to the Godfather of Punk after they used a photo of his bruised and battered face in their anti-torture campaign without his permission. “Even though we acted in good faith, we would like to apologise to Iggy Pop,” Amnesty explains. “We would therefore also like to make it clear that the statement attributed to Iggy Pop that he believes Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll does not represent Iggy Pop’s personal opinion but was part of the creative process for this campaign and was intended to be ironic.”

The striking image of Iggy praising Bieber as “the future of rock ‘n’ roll” also featured the campaign slogan: “Torture a man and he will tell you anything”. Launching the campaign last week, Amnesty International Belgium director Philippe Hensmans explained, “For us it was a quirky but not sloppy way to attract public attention to this tragic reality, which often happens in the greatest secrecy.”

The campaign also featured a poster of the Dalai Lama making the absurd statement, “A man who does not have a Rolex watch at 50 years old has failed in his life”, which Amnesty has also retracted as it “caused particular concern in some quarters”. Amnesty has apologised for “any upset caused by this image.”

Amnesty International’s apology to Iggy Pop

To generate awareness about our campaign against torture, Amnesty International Belgium French speaking section used an image of Iggy Pop without his authorization. Even though we acted in good faith, we would like to apologise to Iggy Pop for having done so.

The overall goal of this campaign is to try to influence people’s ideas on the use of torture. According to surveys, a shocking number of people believe that “torture may sometimes be useful” ; more than 36% of people even think that torture is justified in some cases. This is unacceptable, and we illustrate this reality with the message that a man who is tortured will say anything in order to escape this awfulness, using provocative images and statements to attract public attention.

We would therefore also like to make it clear that the statement attributed to Iggy Pop that he believes Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll does not represent Iggy Pop’s personal opinion but was part of the creative process for this campaign and was intended to be ironic.