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RELIGIOUS INSENSITIVITY IN COMMERCE & INDUSTRY

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Sponsored link.


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We plan to include in this essay any activities by companies that are grossly insensitive to faith groups.

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Sponsored link:

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SONY's CD Offends Hindus:

Aerosmith, a popular US rock band, released a CD called "Nine Lives" on 1997--MAR-18. This is distributed through Columbia Records, a subsidiary of the SONY Group of Companies. The CD "hit number 1 on the US Billboard charts in the first week of release. Within 4 weeks of release, the album had gone gold in 6 countries, platinum in 1 and double platinum in 2...By 1998, the Nine Lives album had gone double platinum in the US." 1

The cover of "Nine Lives" shows a very famous, traditional Hindu painting of their God, Lord Krishna, in battle with a serpent Kalinag. The painting has been modified to put the face of a cat in place of the God's head. They have also changed the chest of the God to a that of a female wearing a blouse.

The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition (AHADC) has asked major distributors to withdraw the CD from their shelves. 3 Only Blockbuster Music has so far decided to do so. The AHADC has also asked SONY to:
bulletissue a written apology to the Hindu community
bulletwithdraw the existing stock of CDs
bulletcreate a new cover that is not offensive for future CDs
 
So far, the response has been:
bulleta verbal apology from SONY
bulleta written apology by Aerosmith in the form of a press release
bulletsome modification to the SONY WWW site; however, an image of the CD remains.

The next step that was planned by AHADC was to urge the Hindu community to boycott products and picket the offices of both SONY and Columbia, and to seek a permanent injunction.

As of 2002-MAY-5, the CD label was featured on the SONY WWW site. 2 The cover has been changed. It now shows the body of a woman with T-shirt and jeans, with the head of a cat. It is available as a CD or mini disc. It carries a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" warning label.

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Whirlpool accused of religious discrimination:

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): "A group of 16 current and former Muslim employees at a Whirlpool plant in La Vergne, Tenn., filed suit this week against the household appliance giant, alleging a consistent pattern of religious discrimination. The class action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle of Tennessee, claims that Muslim employees were denied the right to pray at work, despite repeated requests for religious accommodation." 4

According to , "Managers at the Whirlpool Corp. plant in La Vergne entered restrooms to ensure that Muslim workers were not praying and yanked scarves off women's heads, workers at the factory claim in a religion discrimination lawsuit." 5

CAIR had allegedly attempted to mediate with Whirlpool as long ago as 1998, but were refused. Whirlpool allegedly would only deal with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which hears complaints about workplace discrimination.

No court date has been set.

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References

  1. Jools Holland, "Aerosmith," at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/later/
  2. The SONY WWW site is at: http://thestore.sonymusic.com/thestore/music.asp
  3. The American Hindu Anti-Defamation Coalition has a WWW site with information about this case. It includes a form for sending Emails to all of the major distributors. See: http://www.hindunet.org/anti_defamation/sony/
    Their E-mail address is ahadc@hindunet.org
  4. "Tenn. Muslims accuse Whirlpool of religious discrimination,"
  5. Anita Wadhwani, "Muslims charge discrimination at Whirlpool plant in La Vergne" http://www.tennessean.com/local/

Copyright 2000 & 2002, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-MAY-
Latest update: 2002-MAY-3
Author: B.A. Robinson

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