DJs Pull Sets From Streaming Platform HÖR After Allegations of Censorship
The Berlin-based streaming platform has issued a statement after receiving backlash from members of the electronic music community for alleged censorship of clothing that showed solidarity with Palestine.
DJs are boycotting Berlin-based DJ streaming platform HÖR after they allegedly asked two artists to cancel their set or remove clothing that showed solidarity with Palestine.
Artists including Canadians Pretty Privilege, 1 1 1 1 1hz and DINA have requested to have their past sets taken down from the platform in solidarity with the DJs affected, while Montreal electronic duo Pelada have cancelled their upcoming HÖR stream.
“I think the movement to boycott is gaining a lot of momentum because people were nervous at first to leave such a powerful platform,” DJ Pretty Privilege tells Billboard Canada. “But I think that a lot of people are realizing that it’s just one platform of many, and there are plenty of other people to work with that won’t censor your views and/or side with an oppressive force.”
The alleged incident happened in Copenhagen and Berlin on Nov. 3. In Copenhagen, DJ Téa was asked to remove their keffiyeh, while in Berlin, DJ Sam Clarke says his set was cut short due to their shirt that read “Palestine” in Arabic.
“I performed 20 minutes of my set before an attendant told me that their bosses instructed them to stop my set because they noticed my shirt,” says Clarke’s Instagram story. “They told me I could have a conversation about the shirt's meaning and start my set over, or cancel all together.”
In an email sent to some of the artists in the HÖR database, the founders said they “wholeheartedly support the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and freedom” and “take our responsibility to create a safe space where artists can share their responses to the devastating events seriously.” They also said, “We believe in freedom of expression, and we have not, and will not, censor flags or peaceful slogans.”
They did confirm, though, that the incidents occurred.
“On Friday, we had the first two incidents where individuals wanted to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people, but our content moderation team felt that their items of clothing could be perceived as offensive and called for the eradication of Israel,” says the email statement, as obtained by Resident Advisor.
“In one instance, an artist wore a scarf with the phrase ‘the land is ours’ written in Arabic, while in another instance, another artist wore a shirt featuring the Palestinian flag superimposed over the map of Israel.”
Founders of HÖR, DJ Charly and Ori Itshaky are originally from Israel and Charly has served in the Israeli Defense Forces. The founders also apologized for social media posts after Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel that they say “they deeply regret” and “did not appropriately fact-check.”
The letter comes after Toronto electronic collective Industry Friends dropped their collaboration with the streaming platform. Originally set to host the Toronto leg of HÖR’s global tour between Nov. 4 to 17, Industry Friends is now running the events independently without HÖR's affiliation. They felt it wasn't the right time for the collaboration.
“Collectively, we felt it was not the appropriate time to do this project,” Industry Friends tells Billboard Canada in a statement. “The intention from the start was to give up-and-coming Canadian artists an international platform to boost their career… With the current heated political climate, this idea was falling by the wayside.”
The events are still running under the Industry Friends banner but will longer be livestreamed. The final parties will continue on Nov. 11 and 17 (in collaboration with Pep rally) with DJs including Chippy Nonstop, MIASALAV, Venus In Foil, DENT, Jasmine Infiniti and Karim Olen Ash. Tickets are on sale here.