By Nicole Lyn Pesce
Roger Waters won’t be another brick in Facebook’s wall.
The Pink Floyd bass player and principal songwriter revealed in a press conference last week that he has rejected Mark Zuckerberg’s request to use the British band’s 1979 hit “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” in a film to promote Instagram.
And a clip of him calling the Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -3.92% CEO “one of the most powerful idiots in the world” has gone viral on Twitter. It led Waters’s name and Facebook to trend on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Be warned that there is some strong language.
While speaking at a pro-Julian Assange event, Waters, 77, read a letter he claimed was from Zuckerberg. “It arrived this morning, with an offer for a huge, huge amount of money,” said the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. “And the answer is, ‘F— you. No f—in’ way.”
Many in the audience can be heard clapping, and one person on the discussion panel rises to give Waters a standing ovation.
Waters accused Facebook and Instagram of being part of “an insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything,” and added, “I will not be party to this bull—-, Zuckerberg.”
According to the letter that Waters read aloud, Facebook feels that the core sentiment of the song — which calls out institutions, such as formal education — is “still so prevalent and so necessary today, which speaks to how timeless the work is.”
Rogers countered that the social network missed the point of his song. The lyrics, as you may recall, go: “We don’t need no education/We don’t need no thought control/No dark sarcasm in the classroom/Teacher leave these kids alone/All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall/All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.”
“And yet, they want to use [this song] to make Facebook and Instagram more powerful than it already is,” said Waters.
Indeed, Facebook is facing formal antitrust probes by the European Union and the United Kingdom over its Marketplace classified-ads service. And Congress has spent 15 months investigating the power of the country’s biggest tech companies, including Facebook, Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -0.56% , Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.50% and Google /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.11% .
Pink Floyd has long refused to allow the band’s music to be used for any advertisements that weren’t for a “good cause,” although the group did write a song for a Dole bananas spot in the mid-70s to help make rising ticket prices cheaper for their fans .
Waters also brought up Zuckerberg’s pre-Facebook website FaceMash, which he built at Harvard in 2003 to rate the looks of women on campus. “How did this little prick who started out as ‘She’s pretty, we’ll give her a four out of five, she’s ugly, we’ll give her a one,’ how did we give him any power?” asked Waters. “And yet here he is, one of the most powerful idiots in the world.”
Reps from Facebook and Instagram were not immediately available for comment.
This isn’t the first time an artist has balked over requests to use their songs, of course. It’s especially common for politicians and musicians to butt heads over music rights, with Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Bob Dole all drawing rebuke over using artists’ songs on the campaign trail without their permission.
The Rolling Stones threatened former President Donald Trump with legal action last year after his re-election campaign repeatedly used their songs at his rallies despite being told to “cease all use” of their singles. And the Stones joined the likes of John Fogerty, the Prince estate, Nickelback and Rihanna in telling the Trump campaign to stop playing their songs.
Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -3.92% shares have risen more than 23% this year, and were up slightly early on Tuesday morning.