Adrianne Lenker Speaks Out Against Joke Bumper Sticker

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Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker has a new solo album called Bright Future out later this month, and she recently conducted a multi-week songwriting workshop that sounds like it was inspiring. She also took time this week to comment on a joke bumper sticker that invokes her name.

On her Instagram story, Lenker posted a photo of the bumper sticker, which features the text “when they don’t like adrianne lenker :/” alongside what appears to be a stock photo of a man strangling a woman. You can see it atop this post. To me, that’s an extremely funny bumper sticker, but Lenker doesn’t agree.

Lenker has often taken the chance to share her thought processes with the world. She has weighed in on concert etiquette, explaining why Big Thief don’t often play encores and asking fans not to talk over their opening acts. In 2022, Big Thief defended their decision to perform in Israel and then apologized after further backlash. In 2021, they apologized for a T-shirt that used prison imagery.

Now, along with the bumper sticker image, Lenker shared another carefully considered statement. “I want to say that it makes me feel sick and sad,” Lenker writes. Here’s her full message:

A friend sent me a photo of this bumper sticker,
And I want to say it makes me feel sick and sad. Even jokingly, I do not like the idea of any form of violence, verbal or otherwise, under the name of my music — which is created to create the opposite of that. I want my music to spread love, compassion, gentleness, self-respect and the respect of others.

If someone you encounter does not like me or my music, it doesn’t matter. Be kind to them please. There is enough fighting , the last thing I want is fighting over something as small as my music.

This, to me, is sad.
If you are a real fan of what I am creating,
Wear kindness, and compassion on your sleeve, and be kind to those who disagree with you. Show love to those who dislike me. Thank you.

In a follow-up message, Lenker adds:

…I know it’s meant to be a joke, but jokes can affect people too, jokes often have a sliver of truth. mean jokes are what bullies use. be conscious of the messages you are sending. you never know how it will affect someone. mean sarcasm has never felt good to me, and it’s all the more diminishing when someone makes light of your genuine response to that sarcasm.

What I’m saying is, this doesn’t feel good to me.

OK, Adrianne Lenker, I see you. If the reaction feels extreme, it’s certainly preferable to celebrities like Nicki Minaj siccing their stans on anyone who dares besmirch her name.