In addition to being one of Australia’s most respected singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, Xavier Rudd has received praise for his efforts to end animal cruelty, having been named Australia’s Sexiest Vegetarian by PETA in 2008.
In addition to speaking on animal rights issues in interviews, in 2009 Rudd received the ‘Rock the Boat Award’ for his support of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Rudd was even one of the last passengers aboard a Sea Shepherd ship before it sank following a collision.
However, fans of the animal-loving Rudd have taken to social media en masse to express their surprise and disappointment with the singer-songwriter after hearing ‘Let Me Be’, one of his signature tunes, in a commercial for KFC.
The multi-national factory-farmed chicken fast food giant and enemy of all things vegetarian decided to use Rudd’s bouncy, uplifting 2004 tune in an ad promoting their alliance with Australian cricket, much to the chagrin of Rudd’s fans.
The commercial debuted last month, immediately triggering a wave of criticism towards the singer. “Please tell me you didn’t sell rights to let me be to be played on the KFC ad… BIG downfall,” wrote one disappointed fan.
“Why are you supporting Kentucky fried cruelty? Thought you were an animal protector… you have lost my faith in you and probably many others. Care to explain why?” wrote another, while many echoed this fan’s simple sentiment: “WTF?”
Cutting particularly deep was one fan who commented, “Ironic that you newest song is called ‘Shame’…. Shame in you.” The controversy appears to be ongoing, with fans slamming the singer’s social media posts with criticism about the KFC association.
However, some fans have come out to defend Rudd, suggesting the songwriter may have been completely unaware that his song was being used in a fast-food commercial and that it could be the work of whoever owns the publishing rights to the track.
“I think we should perhaps take a moment, take a step back… maybe we should consider how devastated he might be right now, knowing that one of his songs that he has shared with us is being slaughtered by the one thing he hates?” wrote one fan.
“Maybe after so many years of believing in him I’d like to hope we can trust and support him and hold disbelief in this? That should come before doubt, anger and such sharp judgement without even hearing an answer first?”
At the moment, fans don’t have much of an answer. Rudd has not responded to any of the criticism on social media, nor has he released a statement explaining how ‘Let Me Be’ came to be included in the ad.