Radiohead takes on sweatshops, human trafficking

Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:35am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

MAIDENHEAD (Reuters) - British rock band Radiohead has lent one of its songs to an MTV campaign to raise awareness about sweatshop labor and human trafficking.

The chart-topping group has allowed the international music network to produce a video set to "All I Need" from its latest hit album "In Rainbows" which MTV will air from Thursday and make available to broadcasters.

The MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking) Campaign ( has made a video shown in split screen, one side depicting a day in the life of an affluent young child and the other of a child forced to work in a sweatshop.

Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke said he saw some irony in the campaign being led by MTV, one of the world's most recognized brands which has spread ideas and ideals of the West and its consumer culture to the rest of the world.

"I think it's really cool that it comes full circle and that they wake up one morning and go 'Well, hang on a minute, we want to do something about this'," he told Reuters in an interview.

Radiohead, renowned for using their fame to campaign on the environment and against slave labor, said they first became concerned about exploitation when reading Naomi Klein's "No Logo" on international brands and their labor practices.

"That was something about eight years ago that personally opened my eyes to the fact that you have a responsibility when you go into a shop and see a pair of jeans for 10 pounds ($20), you have to question why," said guitarist Ed O'Brien.

"More often than not it's because some poor soul ... has actually had to make them working for next to nothing," he said in the same interview, adding that the band had created its own ethical merchandising company W.A.S.T.E.   Continued...

<p>Radiohead's Thom Yorke listens during an interview with Reuters in Maidenhead, central England, April 23, 2008. Pioneering British rock band Radiohead has lent one of its songs to an MTV campaign to raise awareness about sweatshop labour and human trafficking. Photograph taken April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>