Spotify has removed offensive imagery associated with a controversial song by Christian rapper Tyson James and his 11-year-old son Toby James, following a complaint by GLAAD.
However, the song “Still 2 Genders,” criticized for its transphobic lyrics, continues to be available on the platform. Meanwhile, no changes have been made to Apple Music’s platform.
Earlier this month, The Advocatereported that the song was accessible on major music streaming platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music, despite its derogatory lyrics towards transgender individuals, including a slur to describe them. The situation caught the attention of GLAAD, which then took up the issue with Spotify’s trust and safety team.
In an updated statement provided to The Advocate, a spokesperson from GLAAD emphasized the importance of enforcing hate speech policies by companies.
“Companies have hate speech policies to protect all users from toxic content and especially from content that incites violence against marginalized people. When these policies are violated, it is important to see companies enforce them,” the statement read.
GLAAD’s statement highlighted the grave real-world implications of hateful rhetoric and imagery connecting it to a tragic incident.
“The terrible murder of Lauri Carlton, an ally who had hung a Pride flag outside her store, is connected to a suspect who had an image of a burning Pride flag pinned to his Twitter profile,” the statement added.
The spokesperson further noted, “Rhetoric, images, and targeting of LGBTQpeople encourages real-world harms. Companies and brands must continue to recognize their responsibility to people’s safety and public safety and immediately act to avoid facilitating anti-LGBTQ hate and violence.”
Spotify responded by removing the album cover and video imagery that included a burning Progress Pride flag GLAAD noted to The Advocate. Despite these steps, the song itself, carrying an anti-trans slur and dehumanizing transgender people as “demons,” remains live on Spotify’s platform.
Both Spotify and Apple Music have policies in place to moderate content on their platforms. Apple Music for Artists’ terms of service stipulates that all lyrics provided to the platform must be “correct, accurate, and do not contain hate speech.” On the other hand, Spotify’s Dangerous Content policy bars “content that incites violence or hatred towards a person or group of people based on race, religion, gender identity or expression.”
Despite these policies, Apple Music has yet to make any changes or respond to inquiries regarding the song’s availability on its platform.
In a prior response, GLAAD had stressed the digital sphere’s struggle with hate speech moderation, especially concerning anti-LGBTQ+ content, which extends beyond the realm of music streaming platforms. Their concern was not only about the derogatory lyrics but also the inconsistency in enforcing content policies by these platforms, which undermines the safety and inclusivity of all users.
As the scrutiny continues, both Spotify and Apple Music remain unresponsive to multiple inquiries from The Advocate regarding this issue. This scenario underscores a broader discussion concerning digital content moderation on streaming platforms, especially around anti-LGBTQ+ content.