photo: Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images
Beastie Boys members Mike D and Ad-Rock have written an open letter to clarify the misconception that they started the battle with GoldieBlox toys, which created a video that spoofs the Beastie’s song "Girls," from the 1986 album "Licensed to Ill."
The GoldieBlox video integrates the melody for "Girls" with new lyrics aimed at promoting the company's line of products, which encourage young girls to explore science and technology instead of just playing with "pink toys" and "dolls." So far the video has received more than eight million views.
According to the Beastie Boys, the group never filed a complaint, but GoldieBlox took legal action after they were contacted by the Beastie Boys, who saw their advertisement.
"When we tried to simply ask how and why our song 'Girls' had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US," stated the band.
GoldieBlox may have jumped the gun by filing for a declaratory judgment, claiming that their use of "Girls" is a parody and is therefore protected under "fair use" provisions. Upon receiving the notification that they had been sued, the Beastie Boys replied in their letter that they support GoldieBlox's products and efforts to empower young girls, but that they have a blanket policy of not allowing their music to be used in advertisements.
"Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial 'GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,' we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad," wrote the band. “We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering. As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads."
The Beastie Boys wrote the song "Girls" when they were breaking into rap and were as irreverent as they were talented. The silly, but sexist original included a list of why the Beastie Boys were so fond of girls: "Girls, to do the dishes/ Girls, to clean up my room/ Girls, to do the laundry/ Girls, and in the bathroom/ Girls, that's all I really want is girls/ Two at a time, I want girls."
In their suit, GoldieBlox stated that their advertisement strives to "make fun of the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company's goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math."
The rewritten lyrics include the lines "It’s time to change/ We deserve to see a range/ 'Cause all our toys look just the same/ And we would like to use our brains."
GoldieBlox supporters slammed the Beastie Boys on Twitter:
— Vinnie (@MrVinnieSays) November 24, 2013
— Dave Morris (@Daveybot) November 24, 2013
GoldieBlox has not commented about the Beastie Boys' letter and no further moves have been made by either side.
- Beastie Boys