On Saturday afternoons during college football season, most students are thinking about beer pong and keg stands, touchdowns and statistics. The last thing on many fans’ minds is their inadvertent contributions to a chronic child molester.
The Oracle reported that USF pays $12,000 a year to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for the Herd of Thunder (HOT) to be able to perform songs on game day, they have inadvertently been lining the pockets of Gary Glitter.
Glitter, a glam rocker whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, has a sordid history of sexual abuse against children. Glitter was jailed in 1999 for possessing more than 4000 hard-core pornographic photos of children. Glitter was also arrested for molesting two girls, ages 11 and 12, in Vietnam and the BBC reported that Glitter was detained in Cambodia for assaulting young boys even though nothing was ever made official.
Glitter’s song, commonly referred to as “The Hey Song,” is frequently played by HOT and has become a staple of the sporting experience nationwide.
ASCAP is the party willing to profit off of the licensing agreement. The more universities and athletic programs that refuse to play the song – the NFL has requested its teams no longer play it – the larger impact on the relationship between Glitter and ASCAP.
It may seem hypocritical to call for a marching band to stop playing a song based on the decisions of the creator when books have been written and masterpieces painted by criminals. But USF and other schools are in a position to have an impact in a real situation where their decisions ultimately benefit the greater good.
A spokesman from ASCAP told the Oracle, “You are blocks and blocks away from supporting him directly.” Even though the school, the students nor the band are not directly contributing to Gadd’s lifestyle, ASCAP is.
Apathy on the part of USF will not help anything. “If the marketing people at USF think we should keep it in our repertoire, then we’ll keep playing it,” said John Schnettler, assistant director of athletic bands
HOT and USF are in a position where they can make a statement to the local community that they are not willing to put marketing before morality.