Universal Denies Blocking Morrissey’s Paris Tribute

Last week, perpetual shit-stirrer Morrissey posted a statement to his unofficial fan site True To You stating that Universal Music — more specifically David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal’s UK and Ireland division — had blocked his plans to reissue Years Of Refusal’s “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” in wake of the Paris attacks:

David Joseph at Universal Music in London has refused the request made by Morrissey and the band to re-issue ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’ as a loving tribute to the lives lost in the Paris atrocities. David Joseph is instead arranging his own tribute to Paris utilizing his current crop of Universal artists.

The website later posted a meme criticizing the executive. Today, Pitchfork reached out to Universal for a comment and got the following statement in reply:

We have not received – let alone refused – any request from Morrissey himself related to ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’. While we have not been contacted directly by Morrissey, after seeing the comments on his website last week, we asked his representative to confirm his intentions and which charity he had in mind to support via the song’s proceeds. We are yet to receive a reply.

Many people at Universal Music have been personally affected by the events in Paris. The implication that we have blocked a request from Morrissey in favour of another tribute “utilizing our current crop of Universal artists” is hurtful and wrong.

Oh, Moz.

UPDATE: Morrissey doubles down on his claim and says he has proof, etc. Here’s the update via True To You

Universal Music

Universal Music (London) have denied refusing to re-issue Morrissey’s I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris in support of the victims of the recent Paris atrocities.
Morrissey is in possession of a letter from John Reid at Russells (London) in which it is clearly stated that David Joseph of Universal Music (London) has no interest in re-issuing I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris, but has instead planned his own tribute to the Paris victims for December which will only involve current Universal bands.
Universal Music has claimed to be “hurt” by the suggestion that such a letter exists.
The letter can be freely made available to anyone who wishes to read it.

24 November 2015

UPDATE 2: Now Morrissey shared his “proof” in another post on True To You. This is the email he claims was sent to David Joseph, Chairman and CEO of Universal’s UK and Ireland division, on 11/18:

Dear David,

My name is Boz Boorer and I represent all of the musicians who played
on I’M THROWING MY ARMS AROUND PARIS (Morrissey).

We are shocked that you have made no move this week to promote the
above song (download/special 7-inch/special CD) to support the people
of Paris. Any other artist would be number 1 with this song RIGHT NOW.

Why are you doing nothing? There is no other song in modern music that
aptly supports the people of Paris.

Most sincerely yours

BOZ BOORER

And this is the email he says that they received in response:

Dear Boz

Thank you for copying your email to me.

I think we all know that this would be an appropriate and compelling gesture.

I spoke with David Joseph today. His position is that owing to Universal having a very close connection to the events, much as they see your point, they are not intending to release any records in response to the tragic events of last Friday. They feel it is too raw for them given the death of one of their staff members and instead they are going to show support and solidarity in other ways, including concerts in Paris later this year by some of their artists.

However, I believe that Universal would licence the song back for eg a release for proceeds to relevant charities (which I assume would be the plan). In short there may be a possibility here but it would have to be a release via a third party. Personally I think there could be a very forceful statement to be made. It will of course require M’s input. Have you discussed this with him – I assume so.

If you want me to pursue this, please let me know. Time inevitably is of the essence.

Yours sincerely

John

John Reid
Partner
Russells Solicitors

Which sounds very reasonable! So basically, by trying to shame Universal, Moz is just making himself look like more of a jerk. Par for the course.

Tags: Morrissey