Beastie Boys ‘Impressed’ by Viral ‘Girls’ Video, but Want It Taken Down
Posted on Nov 25, 2013
A feministy commercial for a toy line that encourages young girls to play like engineers, and not princesses, may have to come down.
The ad, which is built around little girls singing their own version of the Beastie Boys’ classic, has been watched 8,392,343 times as of this posting.
The Beastie Boys actually like it. “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,” the band wrote in an open letter to GoldieBlox, the company behind the video. However, “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.”
As The Verge explains, GoldieBlox pre-emptively sued to have the ad ruled a parody so it wouldn’t have to take it down:
The lawsuit is a defensive measure against a possible cease and desist order, asking a court to declare its parody a legal fair use. Its argument is that it’s directly subverting the lyrics of “Girls,” commenting on a sexist worldview that GoldieBlox toys are supposed to undermine. “In the lyrics of the Beastie Boys’ original song, girls are limited (at best) to household chores, and are presented as useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male singers,” reads the filing. “The GoldieBlox Girls Parody Video takes direct aim at the song both visually and with a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls. ... girls are heard singing an anthem celebrating their broad set of capabilities — exactly the opposite of the message of the original.” The company has covered a Queen song for an earlier viral video, to less parodic effect.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer
Screenshot from YouTube