NIN Bail On MTV Show

Band cancels Movie Awards performance over Bush backdrop

By Bill Crandall & Tracey Ford for Rolling Stone on May 27, 2005

Nine Inch Nails have cancelled their performance at the MTV Movie Awards because of a disagreement with the network over the band's use of a George W. Bush picture.

"Apparently the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me," frontman Trent Reznor posted on NIN's Web site Thursday.

The band was planning to perform its politically charged single "The Hand That Feeds" with the Bush image as a backdrop. The song features the lyrics, "Inside your heart it is black and it's hollow and it's cold . . . There's a price to be paid for the blood on which we dine/Justified in the name of the holy and the divine."

"While we respect Nine Inch Nails' point of view, we were uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement," said an MTV spokesperson. "When we discussed our discomfort with the band, their choice was to unfortunately pull out of the Movie Awards."

NIN's cancellation came two days after Motley Crue filed a lawsuit against NBC, charging the network with "governmentally pressured censorship" for barring the hard rock band from appearing on its late-night shows after singer Vince Neil used profanity on a live New Year's Eve broadcast of The Tonight Show.

MTV's parent company Viacom famously became a political lightning rod last year when the MTV-produced Super Bowl halftime show on the Viacom-owned CBS network culminated in the infamous baring of Janet Jackson's right breast. The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS a record 0,000 for the incident.

If the producers of the MTV Movie Awards are refraining from partisan political statements, they are hardly playing it clean, as Eminem will debut his bawdy new single, "Ass Like That," on the show. (The network has aired the video for rap star's anti-Bush song "Mosh.")

The Awards, which will also feature a performance by Mariah Carey, will be taped June 4th at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium. MTV will air the show June 9th.

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