Tag Archives: Journalism ethics

“She pissed off the Queen, now she’s dead ”Why Brits Are Loopier Than Americans Re: Fruitcake Conspiracy Theories?

24 Feb

Why Are The Brits Even More Loopy Than Americans When it Comes to Fruitcake Conspiracy Theories?

By Nate Thayer

February 24, 2013

Some may recall that in December 2012 a couple of radio disc jockey pranksters in Australia called the London hospital where the pregnant Princess whatever-her-name-is was staying having taken ill with tummy troubles. The Aussie jokesters told the nurse on duty who answered the phone that they were the Queen of England and inquired about the well-being and status of their “grand-daughter.”

The nurse believed them and they engaged in a non-substantive, but recorded, conversation as to how the Princesses was feeling that resulted in a minor global hullabaloo after the joke was broadcast in Oz.

The blaring British tabloids didn’t damper the incident and  a few days later the unfortunate and gullible nurse committed suicide.

That is when things got rather decidedly wonky.

What struck me—and motivated me to write the December 2012 story– was the extraordinary number of complete nutcases and the most inane conspiracy theorists who dominated the chattering classes on social media.

These people were seriously forwarding theories convinced that the poor nurse was the victim of a royal murder plot.

So I wrote an obvious tongue in cheek spoof story on my blog titled: BREAKING NEWS: Dark Hand of British Royal Family Behind Secret Murder of Kate’s Morning Sickness Nurse “She pissed off the Queen, now she’s dead.”–Twitter Ace Journalist

After my byline, Nate Thayer, I accorded myself the job title “Senior News Ombudsman for World Social Media Operations”

That should, I would have thought, been a clue that my tongue was firmly in my cheek.

The story began as follows:

The UK nurse at hospital where pregnant Kate Middleton was resting with morning sickness and  answered the prank phone call from two  male Aussie radio DJ’s saying they were Queen Elizabeth asking ”Hello, I’m just looking after my granddaughter, Kate. I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going?” has been found dead.

Fortunately the crack professionals of social media, which has effectively replaced what use to be the job of the now widely agreed to be the untrustworthy, sensationalist, incompetent institution known as the “Mainstream Media” of journalism is on the case and a well-informed citizenry is in safe hands.

‘I believe the royal family and the British secret agents killed the nurse. It is not the first time. Remember what happened to Diana”–Twitter Crack Reporter'”

The story followed with a series of other outlandish quotes I culled from Twitter and other social media that any—I thought—any half-sensible reader would interpret for what they were—complete and utter poppycock.

I am still scratching my head and continue to be entirely flummoxed and more than a little concerned to have found that almost all the readers of the story—the entirety of it published below—took the story seriously as if I was writing a straight news article.

Every single comment I have received has been from those who agreed the Royal family was behind the death of the poor nurse, because….well they did not say because why, actually.

The story, for no discernible reason, still more than a year later ranks as one of the most read stories on my blog. I received another comment today on it:

“Or perhaps it’s a ‘warning signal’ that if anyone else tried to go near the Royal Family or doesn’t do their job properly, they will be grave consciences. The nurse let her guard down and so the ‘secret Royal guardian forces’ put her down. That’s why everyone else under the watch of the Royals has to do their job properly and those wanting to cause grave harm to them have been warned. Bottom line is The Royal Family has to be viewed as powerful and influential people. Its up to these ‘secret guardian forces’ of theirs to make sure that these ‘views’ are always in place. I will never believe this B.S. even Diana’s car crash death.”

Other comments responding to the story include:

“How many years your country’s king and queen will kill people to save their dirty secrets. ” who is william ‘s baby real mom ?” was it that secert royal family wants to save from england people then they kill the nurse ? You don’t think it is time to kick ass to kings …. England people have a deep sleep . I am yelling “wake up England. WAKE UP ENGLAND, IT IS SO Late.”

Then there was Holly:

“First of all, it wasn’t two MALE disc jockeys, one was a female. Secondly, it’s not the QUEEN MUM, she’s been dead since 2002. This writer should get the facts straight. Bloody British Royal Family or not, this is a super-convenient distraction for them from the Jimmy Savile affair, focusing on this “royal” pregnancy will go on and on and on for another 7 months, then there will be watching the little devil, I mean darling, grow up. I’m sick of all this already.”

I responded to Holly with the following:

Holly:

My apologies on not realizing your Queen Mum was dead. Really, I had lost track of keeping current on the family health issues since my people expelled your people a couple centuries back.

However, occasionally I do admit to spurts of entertainment with Fergie and Di and Camilla (sp?) and Chuck and Randy Andy and Philip et al. But I do agree, it does get tiresome rather quickly.

Why is it they are useful for you people to keep them on the payroll again?

And who is the “them” you refer to?

And if I could politely offer one small correction: Isn’t it “Sir” Jimmy Savile?

The public sexual shenanigans of your people really are a bit hard to keep up with nearly as much as the state of health of your Mum’s and Princesses and Duchesses et al etc and so on….

And since you mention being “sick of it all”, I might suggest you alert your health care providers about your preferences for incoming well wishers, as there appears to be some confusion on that front as well.

Good luck with it all.

I don’t envy you.

Nate

Here is the rest of the story, unredacted, including actual Twitter comments followed by other people who wrote to my blog responding to the article. Not a single one acknowledged the story to be a spoof:

“The Royal Plot behind the Secret Conspiracy to Murder the Morning Sickness Nurse appears to be unlikely to mislead the news hound sleuths from the most respected global Twitter news operations:

“If u think the prank callers are at fault, then YOU are what’s wrong with this world. It’s obviously the Mafia Royal Family. They have done this before many times to avoid shame.”

But while the dominant theme trending by the new vanguard responsible for ensuring a vibrant and free press that serves the people and the principles of freedom of press—Twitter—is to blame the media for the death of the Florence Nightingale of our era, there is another strain of analysis trending on Twitter: That the demise of the deceased nurse was murdered at the hands of the Royals, a dark plot cooked up by the Royal family who murdered her to protect dark secrets which would expose the monarchy to unthinkable revelations of…well they don’t get very specific on the minor details.

“So royal family murders this nurse, calls it suicide and you crazy people are mad at the radio station? It was an innocent prank. At best it was semi-unprofessional and a bit lame. They do not deserve a shred of an ounce of blame for the supposed “suicide”. Nobody with common sense would utter something so ridiculous.”–Senior World Affairs Correspondent for Twitter

The Twitter righteous-indignation social media SWAT teams have been deployed in full force, calling for the poor Aussie radio prankster blokes to get fired, go to jail, or what seems to be the overwhelming favorite, be executed by guillotine.

“We were very surprised that our call was put through,” DJ Mel said after the prank. “We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents.”

The now widely agreed to be murdered nurse took seriously the Australian men imitating the voice of the  British Royal Great-grandmother to be and apparently revealed secrets which surely threatened to bring down the British Empire, and took necessary measures to save its subjects from the calamity.

And the entertaining kerfuffle promises only to get more fun.

The two DJs have deleted their Twitter accounts and gone into hiding after a deluge of death threats, the radio station says it is very, very sorry and apologized for the poor attempt at humour, the Royals have all sent their condolences  and the Queen Mum and Princes Charles conveyed their “sadness and concern for the nurses family”

“I just saw a lord, stupid Brit elites, she was suicided by the inbreeds for knowing too much, either reptile hybrid, or In vitro fertilization from a human donor, the good thing is, no harm was done the royals.”

But the Trojan horse attempt to redirect blame from the real perpetrators by cleverly blaming two 20 something Australian radio talk show jocks did not detract the professional media sleuths of the powerful world network of Social Media.

“The British Royal Family has murdered millions for shiny rocks in the past. You think they have any qualms about killing?”–Twitter Senior  Investigative Correspondent

But to look on the bright side of these developments, I must say it is comforting to know that the nutcase conspiracy theorists running loose are not confined to those among my brethren Americans, but they appear to have taken root across the pond quite nicely.”

Other comments left on my blog include:

“Middleton is a strange woman. Now that the baby is her, she seems very awkward and unloving towards it. Like it’s not hers” and “If everything were really just honest with that family I doubt there would be so many bizarre rumors ?”

 

How–And Why-The New York Times Didn’t Interview Pol Pot

23 Jan

How–and Why– The New York Times Didn’t Interview Pol Pot

By Nate Thayer

January 23, 2014

After I interviewed Pol Pot in July and October 1997, my excellent magazine, the Far Eastern Economic Review–the sister publication of the Wall Street Journal and both owned by Dow Jones–nominated me and the story for a Pulitzer Prize.

It was a long shot as the Pulitzer is eligible only to correspondents for American media organizations, and the Review was incorporated in Hong Kong. However the story did run the same day on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, so the WSJ asked me to write a bried outline of how the story came about for the Foreign Editor, John Bussey, to formally draft a letter to the Pulitzer committee. Here is one such exchange of letters I wrote to my editor, the extraordinarily talented in his own right Nayan Chanda of the Far Easter Economic Review: Continue reading

ABC News and Ted Koppel owe an apology for soiling the integrity of freelancers and the institution of journalism

12 Dec

Mr. Koppel, you owe an apology to the institution of journalism for soiling its integrity.

By Nate Thayer

December 12, 2013

Well, Mr. Ted Koppel, I, for one, would like to hear your response to my contention you pimped your reputation for integrity to ABC News/Disney Corporation in order to steal the life work of a freelance journalist. And then accepted a Peabody award for, well for doing exactly what, really?

This week has been a tad distracting, but I very much appreciate the overwhelmingly positive and supportive commentary from colleagues from around the globe over my objection to Ted Koppel and Nightline and ABC News, owned by the Disney Corporation, stealing my photographs, video, and exclusive eyewitness reports of Pol Pot, the cumulative result of more than a decade of my journalistic efforts, and ABC’s egregious violation of basic journalistic ethics and integrity by trying to take credit for that work, despite not having a single ABC employee assigned to all of South east Asia.

ABC TV stolen still pictures, in which they place four separate credits claiming this picture was taken by them and they had rights to distribute it. Note that, despite there not beingan employee of ABC news located in Southeast Asia at the time, there is no credit to the photographer of the picture

ABC TV stolen still pictures, in which they place four separate credits claiming this picture was taken by them and they had rights to distribute it. Note that, despite there not being an employee of ABC news located in Southeast Asia at the time, there is no credit to the photographer of the picture


Every freelance journalist on earth has faced untold numbers of similar experiences, but the cost of fighting back these huge media corporations makes most every case of this common practice almost impossible to fight back.

At least, in the case of the Pol Pot story and video and still images, the story was worth enough that lawyers, not my favorite category of people to spend my leisure time schmoozing with, were willing to take on my case.

It was not because they were outraged at the ethical and moral stench that this high-profile example of the routine treatment of freelance journalists by media behemoths represented.

It was because they knew they would make enough money to increase their tax bracket.

This allowed me to be able to fight back and win.

But, after 7 years of the most unpleasant life sucking process, after it became clear to ABC I would never be intimidated and never back down in the face of their behemoth corporate machinery, ABC demanded I sign a document saying I could never mention the issue again in public if they agreed to pay me for their clear-cut, intentional calculated theft and plagiarism of my copyrighted work.

Another ABC frame grab of my still pictures, taken after 15 years of work, which they distributed to the planet and took credit for

Another ABC frame grab of my still pictures, taken after 15 years of work, which they distributed to the planet and took credit for

I signed the document. I am now intentionally and without a scintilla of reservation or remorse violating that agreement. Because it an insult to the very fundamental premise of free speech and concept of a free press.

To demand that a journalist–that would be me– be forced to muzzle his right to free speech in order that another so-called icon of journalistic integrity compensate me for outright theft, after a very nasty, prolonged 7 year effort of blackmail, corporate intimidation, threats, bullying, and a bald attempt at bankrupting me, while Ted Koppel remained (and remains silent) shilling for his corporate pimps, was too much for me to stomach.

Koppel flew to Bangkok, signed a written legal contract promising to use the video for “Seven days North American rights only for video use only for Nightline only”, and then said to me: “You are going to have to trust me journalist to journalist” and looked me in the eye and shook my hand. That used to be the way journalists on deadlines dealt with each other. One had to trust another man’s word.

There was no time, and thank God, place for lawyers when a story needed to be written and produced and edited and researched and published on a very short tight deadline.

My still photograph, which became worthless on the international market after ABC TV America stole my pictures and tried to take credit for 15 years of my life work

My still photograph, which became worthless on the international market after ABC TV America stole my pictures and tried to take credit for 15 years of my life work

Ted Koppel then refused to talk to me for nine months. “My ABC lawyers have told me I can’t talk to you, ” is one direct quote, shortly after he got a hold of a copy of my video tape, which was transferred based on his personal word of honor and I accepted based on his reputation for integrity.

Ted Koppel had a price he was willing to sell his reputation for integrity, and by extension the integrity of the institution of journalism. That price was the instructions of his ABC/ Disney corporate bosses.

Then the ABC PR machine got a bit a head of themselves. They have an entire department devoted to applying for nothing but awards. And they made the mistake of applying for a Peabody award for their use of my stolen, copyrighted work, under my name, as a “correspondent for ABC Nightline.”

When I won, nine months after they stole my work, they had refused to pay me a penny until I signed a document saying they had done nothing wrong, I informed them I was scheduled to be in New York–ironically to accept another award for the annual “Courage in Journalism” given to the journalist who had “exhibited the most moral and physical courage in practicing his craft” that year.

I told Koppel I planned to attend the Peabody ceremony and, on stage, formally refuse the ward because “I in n o way wanted my name associated with egregious violation of journalistic ethics and integrity” that ABC television and Nightline had exhibited. My written invitation to the ceremony was rescinded by ABC and the Peabody awards and I was escorted from the Waldorf Astoria banquet hall by security guards, despite having not only been in a possession of a physical ticket but a recipient of one of the awards given that day.

I want to add here that I believe Koppel is indeed a man of integrity. He was one of the very best that American television had to offer. Which, in itself, is not saying much.

So, I signed the document where i promised to never speak a word disparaging of ABC on the matter, took the money they owed me, which virtually all went to lawyers and taxes, and am now saying “Fuck you ABC!”

You did what you did.

No one will ever force me to be gagged from telling the truth, particularly on issues that soil the reputation of the vital institution of a free press. The facts speak for themselves.

ABC, Ted Koppel, and Nightline, rightfully should be ashamed of themselves.

I am not and never will be.

Has anyone noticed, that after 3000+ FB reposts, tens of thousands of Twitter comments, tweets, and re-tweets, neither Koppel, ABC, Nightline, or Disney corporation has uttered a single comment or response?

Their silence speaks for itself.

I, for one, would welcome their constructive comments on this issue. I believe it would contribute to a healthier state of the now very sad state of the institution of journalism.

I suspect they will be required to consult their massive legal department and corporate bosses before they are allowed to open their mouths.

And, the fact is, the powers to be at ABC, and the ABC’s that, today, control the media in free societies don’t really care whether they are selling toothpaste or quality journalism to free people.

If they can make more money selling toothpaste, they will sell toothpaste. Maybe journalism, and free people, would be better off if they choose to sell toothpaste.

There is a reason that public opinion polls rank the credibility and trustworthiness of journalists at the same level they do used car salesman, members of Congress, and lawyers. And I for one am tired of having my reputation soiled by them.

While I harbor no animosity towards ted Koppel personally, I do take grave exception to the undermining of the ethical foundation of the institution of journalism. I take that very personally.

Mr. Koppel, you owe an apology to the institution of journalism for soiling its integrity.

Corporate Power, ABC TV and Ted Koppel tried to censor the free speech of a free man in a free country. Fuck that.

10 Dec

Corporate power tried to steal my life work.

ABC  TV and Ted Koppel tried to censor the free speech of a free man in a free country.

Fuck that.

ABC TV stolen pictures frame grab from my copyrighted work. Count them--four separate credits demanding ABC be given credit for photographs taken when ABC did b not even have a staff person in all of Southeast Asia. This photo was hand delivered to the New York Times, The AP and posted on ABC's website

ABC TV stolen pictures frame grab from my copyrighted work. Count them–four separate credits demanding ABC be given credit for photographs taken when ABC did b not even have a staff person in all of Southeast Asia. This photo was hand delivered to the New York Times, The AP and posted on ABC’s website

Discuss freedom.

I would like to define this discussion, where it belongs: The power of corporate thugs using their money to put their jackboot on the necks of of freelance creative artists must stop.

It is time to draw the line and demand that we, as writers, photographers, musicians, creative artists are worthy. Our work should be respected and compensated as such.

Unlike the Atlantic magazine headache of a few months ago, let’s use our power to define the debate.

Please discuss.

Whatever the content of your opinion, of the  discussion, is fine. Whatever point of view you have, is legitimate.

But the censoring of free speech is not. Full stop. I will be damned before I allow a 10 cent lawyer to tell me when I can open my mouth and say what I want, or not, especially if it is the documented truth.

Fuck their money and their self delusion of power. I am free and intend to remain so.

My earlier blog post on the raw facts of the failed attempt of ABC TV–and their corporate owner–Disney–and Ted Koppel allowing himself to be a common streetwalker for his pimps, has gone viral.

I would like to hear from @ABC and @TedKoppel and @Disney what their response is. Are you selling quality journalism to free people, or are you only trying to deliver viewers and page hits to advertisers?

I respect Ted Koppel. It is why I chose him to bring the story of Pol Pot to North America. But he allowed himself to be a pimp for ABC/Disney in exchange for cash money. That is a fact. Of course he feels guilty. Ted Koppel, I believe, is a moral man. He was, ironically, the best that American TV had to offer. So take responsibility, Mr. Koppel. You will further contribute to the return of quality journalism to free people by doing so. You will be able to look yourself in the mirror without flinching at what you see. I can, mostly, now. As can you. But mostly isn’t good enough for you or me.

How Ted Koppel and ABC TV Tried to Steal my Life Work

8 Dec

How Ted Koppel and ABC TV Tried to Steal my Life Work

By Nate Thayer

December 8, 2013

I am banned by legal agreement to write the following: ABC Television/ Disney Corporation, after seven years in court, where they attempted to bankrupt me and ruin my reputation for objecting to them stealing fifteen years of my life work, buckled and paid me. They have the legal right to take back the money they finally paid me–which actually all went to lawyers and taxes–if I open my mouth.

Fuck them.

Good luck getting blood from a stone while trying to attempt to muzzle a free person in a free society while claiming you are an icon of the free press and free speech

So here goes…..

On July 25, 1997, I was the first outsider to meet Pol Pot since he killed 1.8 million people 20 years before.

It was, for a couple of days, the biggest story in the world. I, as a freelance journalist, had the only photographs and video and eyewitness account that existed since Pol Pot did what he did. It was a tumultuous few days of dealing with the very worst of what the big media companies represented.

Ted Koppel, of ABC Nightline, flew to Bangkok to view the video and signed a written contract for “North American video rights only for 7 days.” ABC America–owned by Disney–told Koppel to sign whatever Thayer asks for–our lawyers will deal with it later. He is just a freelancer. Give him whatever he wants. We can bankrupt him if he objects.

As soon as ABC, which had exactly zero correspondents in Southeast Asia, got a hold of a copy of the tape, which Ted Koppel personally and in writing promised he would not allow any frame grabs to be made into still pictures, or allow the video to be distributed to anyone outside of Nightline, or allow the transcript of the text of the video to be shown to anyone else, ABC created the below frame grabs from the video, distributed it personally to numerous news outfits, including the AP and the New York Times, where it appeared on their front page above the fold, and ABC placed them on their website crediting themselves with having taken the image.

My picture, credited to ABC TV, was published on the front pages of hundreds of newspapers around the world, my footage was distributed around the globe, and my story was written in virtually every major news organ on earth, credited to ABC TV, before I actually had written my own story . which was published with the integrity and dignity and seriousness it deserved in my excellent publication, the Far Eastern Economic Review.

1018923 Pol Pot ABC Frame Grab Pic

ABC TV stolen pictures frame grab from my copyrighted work. Count them--four separate credits demanding ABC be given credit for photographs taken when ABC did b not even have a staff person in all of Southeast Asia. This photo was hand delivered to the New York Times, The AP and posted on ABC's website

ABC TV stolen pictures frame grab from my copyrighted work. Count them–four separate credits demanding ABC be given credit for photographs taken when ABC did b not even have a staff person in all of Southeast Asia. This photo was hand delivered to the New York Times, The AP and posted on ABC’s website

ABC distributed transcripts of the trial of Pol Pot I had made and allowed other news organizations to view the video tape with strict instructions to credit ABC for the images and story, and then refused to pay me anything unless I signed a release that they did nothing wrong and I promised not to take legal action against them.

I refused.

Nine months later, I won the Peabody award as a “correspondent for ABC Nightline.”

Ted Koppel called me up, nervous, to congratulate me.

I said “Fuck you! Where is my fucking money? I am going to go to the Peabody awards ceremony and refuse the award and tell the planet what unethical thieves ABC are and how you, Ted Koppel, acted as their pimp.” I was then banned from attending the award ceremony, escorted out of the Waldorf Astoria hotel banquet room by security guards.

I spent seven years in court fighting ABC.

I won, sort of.

It sucked the life out of me, which was the exact intention of ABC: to make my life as miserable and expensive and distracted as possible to punish me for objecting to bald plagiarism, fraud, and theft. They tried to bankrupt me and ruin my reputation.

But ABC fucked with the wrong person. They will never fuck with Nate Thayer again.

It was worth it. They thought I would back down in the face of their team of hundreds of staff lawyers and corporate power.

I refused.

Such is the life of freelance journalism.

Every freelance journalist alive has suffered under the corporate jackboot of the ABC’s of the media world, their work stolen and never compensated. Usually it is not possible to pay for a legal team to fight them to get remunerated for one’s work.

Above and below are a couple of the still pictures, still available by a simple Google search online.

Another ABC frame grab of my still pictures, taken after 15 years of work, which they distributed to the planet and took credit for

Another ABC frame grab of my still pictures, taken after 15 years of work, which they distributed to the planet and took credit for

These are just some examples of the still picture ABC frame grab’s ABC took from the video and distributed to the world, voiding scores of contracts I had sold for my stills for exclusive rights.I had scores of contracts for the sale of still pictures, video, and stories cancelled around the globe overnight.

ABC tried to take credit for 15 years of my life work. Below is one of my original still photographs, which became worthless overnight because  a degraded version was available for free from the ABC website.

CAMBODIA-POL-POT/WALK

One of my actual still photographs–taken by me–with a Nikon F-4 on July 25, 1997—the first pictures of Pol Pot taken since he murdered 1.8 million people during his 3 years 8 months and 20 days in power

polpot.abc

My still photograph, which became worthless on the international market after ABC TV America stole my pictures and tried to take credit for 15 years of my life work

My still photograph, which became worthless on the international market after ABC TV America stole my pictures and tried to take credit for 15 years of my life work

Musician’s Protest Goes Viral: Corporations offer no payment in exchange for “exposure”

8 Nov

Musicians say Enough is Enough for being asked to work for Free: One mans strongly worded refusal goes viral on social media

A Familiar refrain: “They consistently offer musicians nothing for their work, instead suggesting ‘exposure’ as a form of payment.”

The issue of for profit companies trying to increase their profit margin by refusing to pay creative artists for their work has once again gone viral, creating a debate which has metastasized on social media. Today it is by musicians. The similarities to the debate and discussion sparked in march of this year on the issue of writers and journalists facing the same problem are almost identical. See  https://natethayer.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-freelance-journalist-2013/

Whitey, aka Nathan Joseph White, a musician from London, is the latest creative artist to put his foot down and publicly confront for profit companies asking to use his work, but refusing to pay him for it. The latest request by a major corporation to do just that prompted him to write a strongly worded, resounding no, and then post the message on both his FB page and twitter.

“I want a loud dialogue started in the music press about this shit. I’m sick of these people. I propose a collective blacklist of companies that play this shabby angle, enough. I donate music all the time to indie projects, students and those who need it but cannot pay. But these people… ugh,” Whitey wrote on his Facebook page today

Letter from Musician Outraged One last Time at being Asked to Give His Music for Free to For Profit Company

Letter from Musician Outraged One last Time at being Asked to Give His Music for Free to For Profit Company

This approach is becoming standard, I see an epidemic of these cheap manouevres. The income of musicians has already been decimated by file sharing- and smelling the blood in the water, there is a cynical trend for companies to play upon that struggle for survival. They consistently offer musicians nothing for their work, instead suggesting ‘exposure’ as a form of payment. Well ‘exposure’ only worked when the masses actually bought music, or if it is attached to a prominent cultural event. This kind of exposure… might as well pay me in Monopoly money,” he wrote on his FaceBook page.

In 2004, Whitey released The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train which was lauded as a critical triumph, recognized on numerous Best Of Year lists worldwide. In 2007, his album Great Shakes was leaked onto the internet, and as a consequence was never officially released, resulting in Whitey losing several mainstream licencing deals. Whitey’s work has been featured on Grand Theft Auto IV and on episodes of The Sopranos, House, One Tree Hill, The O.C, Kyle XY, Entourage, Breaking Bad, and CSI.

In May 2012, Whitey condemned”….ludicrously one-sided offers, arrogant A&Rs and hammering on closed doors”.

In December 2012, Whitey successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his seventh album as well as making physical releases on CD and vinyl available for all his back catalogue.

Yesterday, Whitey rejected a Betty TV request to licence his music for free and reposted the email online to begin ‘a public discussion… about this kind of industry abuse of musicians.’ The post has gone viral.

British musician Whitey has had it with being asked to donate his music for free to big for profit companies. After the latest email from British company Betty TV, Whitey, aka NJ White, responded. Here is his letter, which has now had thousands of retweets on Twitter and thousands more on FB. The beat goes on……..:

“I am sick to death of your hollow schtick, of the inevitable line “unfortunately there’s no budget for music”, as if some fixed Law Of The Universe handed you down a sad but immutable financial verdict preventing you from budgeting to pay for music. Your company set out the budget. so you have chosen to allocate no money for music. I get begging letters like this every week – from a booming, affluent global media industry.

Why is this? Let’s look at who we both are.

I am a professional musician, who lives from his music. It me half a lifetime to learn the skills, years to claw my way up the structure, to the point where a stranger like you will write to me. This music is my hard-earned property. I;ve licensed music to some of the biggest shows, brands, games and TV production companies on Earth; form Breaking Bad to the Sopranos, from Coca Cola to Visa, HBO to Rock star Games.

Ask yourself – would you approach a Creative or a Director with a resume like that – and in one flippant sentence ask them to work for nothing? Of course not. Because your industry has a precedent of paying these people, of valuing their work.

Or would you walk into someone’s home, eat from their bowl, and walk out smiling, saying “So sorry, I’ve no budget for food”? Of course you would not. Because, culturally, we classify that as theft.

Yet the culturally ingrained disdain for the musician that riddles your profession, leads you to fleece the music angle whenever possible. You will without question pay everyone connected to a shoot – from the caterer to the grip to the extra- even the cleaner who mopped your set and scrubbed the toilets after the shoot will get paid. The musician? Give him nothing.

Now lets look at you. A quick glance at your website reveals a variety of well-known, internationally syndicated reality programmes, You are a successful, financially solvent and globally recognised company with a string of hit shows. Working on multiple series in close co-operation with Channel 4, from a West London office, with a string of awards under your belt. You have real money, to pretend otherwise is an insult.

Yet you send me this shabby request – give me your property for free… Just give us what you own, we want it.

The answer is a resounding, and permanent NO.

I will now post this on my sites, forward this to several key online music sources and blogs, encourage people to re-blog this. I want to see a public discussion begin about this kind of industry abuse of musicians… this was one email too far for me. Enough. I’m sick of you.”

Here is the email on Whitey’s Facebook page.

As I did with a request by the Atlantic Magazine in March this year, in an almost blueprint equivalent of his case, Whitey makes clear he does not object to playing music for free. He told DangerousMinds.net today

I don’t want payment for everything. I don’t even care that much about money, I give away my music all the time. You and I live in a society where file sharing is the norm. I’m fine with that.

But i don’t give my music away to large, affluent companies who wish to use it to make themselves more money. Who can afford to pay, but who smell the file sharing buffet and want to grab themselves a free plate. That is a different scenario.

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