The Java Rockin’Land festival in Jakarta, set for July 22-24, is sponsored by Gudang Garam, a major producer of clove cigarettes. According to Mother Jones magazine, Martia Hefler, a public-health doctoral student in Australia, has started an online petition urging bands performing at the event — which include Good Charlotte, 30 Seconds to Mars, the Cranberries and Happy Mondays – to protest the cigarette company’s sponsorship.
The tobacco issue is particularly thorny for Neon Trees, whose members also belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (you know, the Mormons), and have spoken out publicly about their refusal to support alcohol or tobacco advertising.
Earlier this month, Hefler pestered Neon Trees drummer Elaine Bradley about the cigarette sponsorship via Twitter. Bradley tried to deflect the criticism, posting one tweet that read, “Venues and promoters overseas have sponsors of their choosing. We see no money from them. Write someone else.” In another tweet, Bradley wrote, “I hear you. It’s less than ideal. You can stop tweeting me about it.”
“We thought the social activism of many of the bands, in particular the public stance of Neon Trees against tobacco, meant they would be horrified to learn they were part of a tobacco promotion, and would immediately take steps to remove the association,” Hefler told Mother Jones. “Obviously we were wrong.”
NOTE: The petition and more information about the situation in Indonesia can be found at http://www.change.org/