Pearl Jam's Anti-Bush Lyrics Jammed by AT&T

The band is upset after 15 seconds were cut from a webcast, and AT&T apologizes.

ByABC News
August 10, 2007, 12:17 PM

Aug. 10, 2007 — -- Eddie Vedder, lead singer of the rock band Pearl Jam, is using his powerful pipes to call out corporate censorship after an AT&T webcast of the band's Lollapalooza performance that edited out Vedder's anti-George Bush musings.

The improvised lyrics in question were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's "The Wall": "George Bush leave this world alone. George Bush find yourself another home."

The telecom giant has been contrite after last weekend's live webcast, calling the censorship an unacceptable mistake and saying its policies strictly forbid editing political messages out of webcasts.

But the politically charged band and activists are saying that the 15 seconds of silence is a resounding signal of a much larger issue: the power of Internet service providers to regulate what users can access when they surf the net.

"AT&T's actions strikes at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media," the band said in a statement on their Web site.

Following a rendition of Pearl Jam's song "Daughter" during the show at Chicago's Grant Park, Vedder transitioned into the Pink Floyd classic, singing the Bush lyrics to an enthusiastic crowd that shouted "No more war!" and held up homemade anti-war signs.

The first time Vedder sang "George Bush leave this world alone," the lyrics were transmitted to users on AT&T's Blue Room Web site. The second two anti-Bush verses were cut.

AT&T employs the firm Davie-Brown Entertainment (DBE) to edit their webcasts for profanity that is not a part of a song's lyrics, and also for nudity, company spokesman Michael Coe said. Political messages and curse words that are part of a song are not edited, he said.

DBE insisted that the censoring of the Pearl Jam lyrics was an honest mistake, not part of some broader political agenda to protect the president, and that they are undertaking a review of the incident.

"I don't think it was politically motivated," said DBE president Tom Meyer. "My guess is [the webcast editor] felt that it was something controversial and they had to make a snap decision, and they made the wrong one."