The world was given a glimpse into Pearl Jam’s crisis communication strategies last week. While on tour in Europe, Pearl Jam’s singer, Eddie Vedder, made some off-the-cuff remarks during a song. While attempting to contrast the love in the stadium they were playing in, against the wars that are taking place around the world, he ruffled more than a few feathers by speaking indirectly about the violence in Israel.
If you haven’t seen the video, please take a look for context…
Now, this is a band who has always been associated with activism, whether it be Voters For Choice, The Tibetan Freedom Concert, Vote For Change, or Free the West Memphis Three, they have always been vocal, and this would be no exception, even if fans were possibly more divided on this than on his previous tirades regarding American politics.
But when it came to handling this situation, they could have quietly ignored the tidal wave of outrage that was headed their way and gone radio silent like Rihanna after her she quickly removed her “#FreePalestine” tweet.
But after a day or two, pearljam.com posted the following open letter from Vedder:
Imagine That — I’m Still Anti-War.
July 16 2014
Most of us have heard John Lennon sing
“You may say I’m a dreamer,… but I’m not the only one.”
And some of us, after another morning dose of news coverage full of death and destruction, feel the need to reach out to others to see if we are not alone in our outrage. With about a dozen assorted ongoing conflicts in the news everyday, and with the stories becoming more horrific, the level of sadness becomes unbearable.
And what becomes of our planet when that sadness becomes apathy?
Because we feel helpless. And we turn our heads and turn the page.
Currently, I’m full of hope. That hope springs from the multitudes of people that our band has been fortunate enough to play for night after night here in Europe. To see flags of so many different nations, and to have these huge crowds gathered peacefully and joyfully is the exact inspiration behind the words I felt the need to emphatically relay.
When attempting to make a plea for more peace in the world at a rock concert, we are reflecting the feelings of all those we have come in contact with so we may all have a better understanding of each other.
That’s not something I’m going to stop anytime soon. Call me naïve.
I’d rather be naïve, heartfelt and hopeful than resigned to say
nothing for fear of misinterpretation and retribution.
The majority of humans on this planet are more consumed by the pursuit of love, health, family, food and shelter than any kind of war.
War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.
With all the global achievements in modern technology,
enhanced communication and information devices, cracking the human genome, land rovers on Mars etc., do we really have to resign ourselves to the devastating reality that conflict will be resolved with bombs, murder and acts of barbarism?
We are such a remarkable species. Capable of creating beauty.
Capable of awe-inspiring advancements. We must be capable of resolving conflicts without bloodshed.
I don’t know how to reconcile the peaceful rainbow of flags we see each night at our concerts with the daily news of a dozen global conflicts and their horrific consequences. I don’t know how to process the feeling of guilt and complicity when I hear about the deaths of a civilian family from a U.S. drone strike. But I know that we can’t let the sadness turn into apathy. And I do know we are better off when we reach out to each other.
“I hope someday you’ll join us,…”
Won’t you listen to what the man said.
— Eddie Vedder” – pearljam.com
Standing behind his words, but giving it context. The strategy has seemed to work, and the conversation has for the most part been silenced.
Now if only they would hold a press conference every time they lose a drummer, the way a company does when its CEO steps down…