Seven hundred musicians and industry figures back plea for anti-racist "unity"

Leading figures speak out in wake of Wiley antisemitic outburst


More than 700 UK music acts, record label bosses and managers have backed a plea for "unity" in the music industry in the wake of the racism row sparked by the grime star Wiley. 
Lewis Capaldi, Rita Ora, Little Mix,Nile Rodgers and The 1975 are among the signatories of a letter published today calling for  "love, unity and friendship, not hatred and division" within the British music industry. 
The unprecedented initiative follows the antisemitic social media rants by rapper Wiley which led to him being banned from Twitter and Facebook after he compared Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan and said they treated black artists like slaves in the music business. 
But the signatories - including artists, songwriters, producers, managers, publishers and lawyers from all backgrounds and faiths - also highlight issues around anti-black racism in America in recent months. 

The letter states: "We, representatives from the music industry, write to demonstrate and express our determination that love, unity and friendship, not division and hatred must and will always be our common cause. 
"In recent months through a series of events, the antisemites and anti-black racists, plus those who advocate Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia, clearly want us all to fail. 
"Whether it be systematic racism and racial inequality highlighted by continued police brutality in America or anti-Jewish racism sewn through online attacks, the result is the same - suspicion, hatred and division. 

"We are at our worst when we attack each other. Minorities from all backgrounds and faiths have struggled and suffered. From slavery, mass genocide and the Holocaust, we have painful collective memories. 

"We the British music industry are proudly uniting to amplify our voices, to take responsibility to speak out and stand together in solidarity. Silence is not an option." 

The letter is the brainchild of two music executives - Alistair Goldsmith and Marc Fineman.  
They said in a statement: “We were both really concerned about the events that had been unfolding and we wanted to make sure that the music industry said something loudly with one voice - from artists, to managers, producers, songwriters, other executives and major music companies - that we are collectively better than this. We have a shared fight against antisemitism and any sort of racism wherever and however it raises its ugly head.”

Other musicians  to sign the letter - which  also states there is a "global love for music blind to race, religion and gender" -  include former One Direction star Niall Horan Goldie and Jonas Blue.  

Ed Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp and Lily Allen's ex-manager Neale Easterby are others backing the initiative - which is supported by major labels including Universal, Warners and Sony. 
The letter also suggests that racists and xenophobes have attempted to exploit friction in society in recent months. 

Last week, the social media companies were slammed over their slow response to removing racist comments made by Wiley - real name Richard Cowie - on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

They later issued apologies over their failure to act more quickly and Wiley has since been banned from Twitter and Facebook. 

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told the JC  the government would impose "tough new penalties" on companies who fail to tackle online antisemitism and racist hate.  

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