Several artists have returned their Echo Awards in Germany to protest the award won by two rappers whose lyrics boasted of having “bodies more defined than Auschwitz inmates.”
In response to the award controversy BMG, which distributes releases by Kollegah and Farid Bang, has announced a campaign against antisemitism.
At the awards ceremony on April 12, a speaker condemning the rappers received a standing ovation.
The award recognizes sales, not the content of the album, but the awards committee has pledged to rethink how it will choose winners, according to Variety.
Kollegah and Farid Bang won the Echo Award for having 2017’s best-selling hip-hop album.
In their lyrics, along with the boast about their physiques, they call for “another Holocaust; let’s grab the Molotov” cocktails.
The BMG campaign is focused on teaching schoolchildren about anti-Semitism. The distributor has pledged 100,000 euros, about $123,000, to the campaign.
“Recent news reports have produced shocking evidence of a new wave of antisemitism in German schools,” read a statement by BMG Worldwide CEO Hartwig Masuch. “BMG is utterly opposed to antisemitism.”
But Masuch also said the artists in question are not antisemitic.
“Kollegah and Farid Bang have repeatedly made it clear on the internet and speaking in public that they are not antisemitic, and they have apologized for any distress caused by the lyrics in question,” he said. “BMG stands for values such as artistic freedom, creativity and diversity.”