Iggy Pop didn’t have a problem with Amnesty International’s goals. He just didn’t like them using his image without permission.
The organization’s Belgium office published a recent campaign using famous people making statements that were, supposedly, obtained through the use of torture. In the case of Iggy Pop, a picture of the singer, beaten and bloodied, is overlaid with the statement “Justin Bieber is the future of rock ‘n’ roll.” Also in the campaign were pictures of the Dalai Lama saying “A man who does not have a Rolex at 50 is a failure” and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld being forced to say that Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops are the height of fashion.
While nobody would dispute that the Dalai Lama would support the mission of Amnesty International, the problem is that the organization did not seek approval from the individuals while the photos implied their approval. Some media also assumed the association with Britain’s The Guardian running the headlines “Iggy Pop fronts campaign for Amnesty International … Amnesty’s Belgian office have enlisted a range of well-known faces, including the Stooges star, for an anti-torture campaign that hammers home the message, ‘Torture a man and he will tell you anything’.”
The Amnesty International apology ran on their official webpage:
Pop Amnesty InternationalTo generate awareness about our campaign against torture, Amnesty International Belgium French speaking section used an image of Iggy Pop without his authorization.
Even though we acted in good faith, we would like to apologise to Iggy Pop for having done so.
The overall goal of this campaign is to try to influence people’s ideas on the use of torture. According to surveys, a shocking number of people believe that “torture may sometimes be useful” ; more than 36% of people even think that torture is justified in some cases. This is unacceptable, and we illustrate this reality with the message that a man who is tortured will say anything in order to escape this awfulness, using provocative images and statements to attract public attention. We would therefore also like to make it clear that the statement attributed to Iggy Pop that he believes Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll does not represent Iggy Pop’s personal opinion but was part of the creative process for this campaign and was intended to be ironic. The image has been removed.