Monsanto Considered “Legal Action” Against Neil Young, New Report Shows

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Neil Young photo by Ross Gilmore/Redferns
Neil Young photograph by Ross Gilmore/Redferns

Agribusiness company Monsanto is the topic of a brand new report in The Guardian, primarily based on court docket paperwork that have been made public as a part of the corporate’s ongoing legal battles associated to their Roundup weed killer. According to the paperwork reviewed by The Guardian, Monsanto operated an “intelligence fusion center” to observe and collect knowledge on journalists and different people essential of the corporate. One of these people was Neil Young, whose 2015 album The Monsanto Years lambasted the company.

The paperwork embody an internal memo from July 2015 with graphs and metrics of Young’s social media affect, in addition to gathered knowledge on articles surrounding the album launch. That memo additionally incorporates a bit in regards to the lyrics discovered on The Monsanto Years, with a listing of “potential topics” that the singer may contact upon. “We are developing a plan to proactively produce content and response preparedness for the following six topics that seem most likely to be Neil’s next targets,” the memo reads, earlier than itemizing off matters comparable to “citizen rights,” “farm worker health,” and “undue political influence.”

At one level within the memo, it’s acknowledged that Monsanto’s “fusion center” can be “monitoring discussions” in regards to the 30th Farm Aid live performance. “We have reached out to the legal team and are keeping them informed on Neil’s activities in case any legal action is appropriate,” it reads. “They believe our response to date has been appropriately measured and tailored; we are sitting tight to see where this goes.”

The Monsanto Years was launched June 29, 2015. Before the discharge of the album, Billboard requested Monsanto for touch upon the music “Monsanto Years.” At the time, a consultant for the corporate acknowledged: “Many of us at Monsanto have been and are fans of Neil Young. Unfortunately, for some of us, his current album may fail to reflect our strong beliefs in what we do every day to help make agriculture more sustainable. We recognize there is a lot of misinformation about who we are and what we do—and unfortunately several of those myths seem to be captured in these lyrics.”

Pitchfork has reached out to Neil Young for remark.