More than 400 artists have sent an open letter to Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) pledging to boycott Amazon events and partnerships unless the company cuts ties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The open letter, titled “No Music for ICE,” was published by the activist group Fight for the Future and directly targets Amazon’s “Intersect” festival, set to be held in Las Vegas in December. The event is being advertised as a music, arts, and tech festival with more than 30 “innovative acts.”
In the letter, the artists call on Amazon to “terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies,” including ICE, Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Refugee Resettlement. They want Amazon to end projects that “encourage racial profiling and discrimination” and to stop providing cloud services and other tools to organizations “that power the U.S. government’s deportation machine.”
The artists called on others to join their cause. The letter reads: “We will not allow Amazon to exploit our creativity to promote its brand while it enables attacks on immigrants, communities of color, workers, and local economies. We call on all artists who believe in basic rights and human dignity to join us.”
The group is concerned about the business practices of Amazon Web Services and the company’s development of facial recognition technology. Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform that provides the infrastructure for the databases of agencies like the Transportation Security Administration and CBP. Amazon also provides database services to Palantir, a data analytics company that has contracts with ICE.
The artists said they will boycott Amazon events and deals if the measures are not met. The targeted festival’s current lineup includes the Foo Fighters, Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, and numerous other artists. Amazon would not say whether any of the scheduled performers have canceled their contracts since the letter’s publication.