WAVAW Boycott


The Boycott began when Atlantic Records put up a billboard on the Sunset Strip to advertise the Rolling Stone album “Black and Blue.” Read the No More Black and Blue story of the WEA Boycott and learn about how they successfully changed the record industry:


Depicting a beaten, bound woman saying, “I’m 'Black and Blue' from The Rolling Stones and I love it!" WAVAW and NOW (National Coalition for Women) protested after a guerilla action that wrote across the billboard: 


The sign was removed and the Boycott began with a letter writing campaign as a follow up to the WAVAW slide show.


WAVAW’s Slide Show of
Offensive Album Covers

The slideshow was shown to hundreds of women’s groups, schools, universities across the country.

I found the collaboration with WAVAW a natural and important one for an artist and activist. It is in the media where artists can work strategically using their skills in image making to deconstruct media images and help create new ones. Since LA is the media capital of the world it seemed logical to expand my art in that direction.
— Leslie Labowitz (Heresies #9, 1980)



Press Release


The Performance used images directly from the WEA marketing material

The set was at the site of the KISS billboard. It was composed of: a counter billboard with rising rape statistics, a simulated record company’s executive office. The office was complete with a large gold record in front of a long gold desk with a secretary typing on an IBM typewriter. On the desk were telephones, stacks of money and ’The Big Button,’ symbol of the industry’s power next to buckets of red paint. Roosters representing the CEO’s of Warner/Electra/Atlantic record companies were conducting business as usual.
— Leslie Labowitz
The processing of information at the press conference was filtered through the media. The performance received 4-5 minutes of coverage by all local TV media exactly as planned. The newscasters themselves became performers while reporting the newscast.
— Leslie Labowitz

Media Coverage to Press Conference


Boycott Success

In 1979, after three years of national protesting, presenting community slideshows, letter-writing, phone-calling, attending shareholders' meetings, leafletting and boycotting, WAVAW secured a policy from Warner Communications, Inc. stating they had agreed to cease and desist with the use of images of violence against women and sex-violence as an advertising gimmick. As a result of the agreement, WAVAW and California NOW ended a three year boycott of WCI Records. On November 8, 1979, WAVAW and WCI made joint statements to the press at dual news conferences in New York and Los Angeles announcing that an agreement had been reached. The agreement announced on November 8, 1979, was presented to the public in the form of a joint press statement, which was negotiated by representatives from WAVAW's national coordinating committee and from the office of David H. Horowitz who is in charge of WCI's record division.