Adult Swim’s Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace was recently cancelled after one season following vocal criticism that its creator, Sam Hyde, was espousing ideals of racism, sexism, and bigotry through the show due to his identification as a member of the “alt-right,” an extremist movement predicated on white nationalism.
Throughout the first season of the show, several musicians were featured on it, including Chastity Belt, Ovlov, Molly Nilsson, Danny L Harle, 3TEETH, and John Maus. (Maus even made a cameo on the show.) Now, as Pitchfork reports, many of those artists have come forward to clarify their involvement and lack of knowledge about the ideology of the show’s creator.
In a Facebook statement, Chastity Belt wrote:
In regard to our appearance on the Cartoon Network show World Peace, we are deeply disappointed to find ourselves associated with a movement that we are wholeheartedly against: the alt-right. We do not support the hateful ideas spread by the MDE comedy group. Honestly, we haven’t watched an episode of World Peace and we frankly don’t want to. We’re not interested in this form of anti-humor. We appreciate how many comedians use satire and anti-humor to challenge the hegemony, but we also recognize that this practice can obscure their individual values. Satire was integral to the foundation of Chastity belt – we intended to draw attention to important issues people might feel uncomfortable addressing directly. We are appalled by the way MDE has used satire and it has caused us to seriously reflect on how humor is used as a tool of oppression.
Before signing on to perform for the episode, all we knew about the show was how the Deadline announcement described it, as “satir[izing] the current political climate…. [it] will “unlock your closeted bigoted imagination, toss your inherent racism into the burning trash and cleanse your intolerant spirit with pure unapologetic American funny_com.”
It was naïve of us to assume that this hyperbolic statement originated in a true desire to challenge intolerance. Admittedly we knew nothing about MDE when the idea was pitched and did not look into it extensively. The television performance on World Peace seemed like a great opportunity for exposure. We heard that other artists we liked appeared on the show including John Maus, and we were eager to get the ball rolling.
In the weeks following the election, we have been challenged to judge our sources critically and this is yet another testament to that point. It is dangerous to make assumptions about which voices are being heard. Within the Seattle music community, we have noticed a surge in efforts to counter marginalization. We are grateful that we are attempting to keep each other in check and we hope we remain vigilant!
And Ovlov’s Steve Hartlett offered up the following:
We’ve been asked to express our views on Million Dollar Extreme and their Adult Swim show we performed on, so we wanted to post our response here to ensure everything we want to be said is said.
We are happy to share our experience and feelings on the matter. Most importantly, let me start off by saying that no member of ovlov supports or agrees with anything to do with the alt-right movement. It is an ideology I truly can’t believe people this day and age actually believe in. None of us had known anything about Million Dollar Extreme prior to meeting them the day of shooting our piece in the show. We don’t know anything about any of them personally, or anything about their beliefs or political views. We should have done our research before agreeing to be on a show we knew nothing about, but were all too overwhelmed with excitement in just being asked to be on a new Adult Swim show when we agreed. It was something we had always dreamed of and never really considered the fact that this new show might portray views we wouldn’t want to put our name behind. We only wish for our music to have a positive influence and effect on people and their lives.
Steve // ovlov
Molly Nillson also gave this statement to Pitchfork:
Obviously I should have done a better job looking into what the context was and its values rather than to trust an offer because it seemed ‘serious.’ I’m not trying to make excuses but maybe explain that it is sometimes hard to know what [the] sender is beforehand. I’m happy this was disclosed and glad it has now been cancelled. I take this very seriously and will use this opportunity to better my research when it comes to syncing requests. I would never want any song of mine featured in a context of racism, sexism, homophobia or bigotry. It should be clear that the so called “alt-right” are nothing but neo-Nazis in suits.
A full list of music used in Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace can be found here.