BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images
The Beastie Boys (from left): Adam (Ad-Rock) Horovitz and Michael (Mike D) Diamond pictured alongside the late Adam (MCA) Yauch.
The Beastie Boys want a California toy company focused on empowering young girls to change its tune.
The two surviving members of the New York rap trio issued an “open letter” Monday saying that while they support GoldieBlox’s girl-targeted engineering and construction toys, they still want it to take down a viral video using their iconic 1986 song “Girls.”
The video had more than eight million YouTube views as of Monday and shows a group of young girls eschewing pink princess gear to build an elaborate system of weights, levers, seesaws, pendulums and rolling balls – in the style of famed New York cartoonist and engineer Rube Goldberg – to turn off a TV set.
Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz started their letter with the admission they were “very impressed by the creativity and the message behind” the ad.
“We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering,” they said in the statement obtained by the Daily News.
Still, the group has a longstanding and firm policy prohibiting the use of their music in any commercial advertisements, they said.
“As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads,” the letter said.
They suggested they were shocked when GoldieBlox made the first legal move last Thursday and filed a complaint in U.S. District court in San Francisco.
The civil action asked a judge to declare the video a protected parody.
GoldieBlox via YouTube
A commercial for GoldieBlox uses a parody of ‘Girls’ by the Beastie Boys.
“When we tried to simply ask how and why our song ‘Girls’ had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US,” Diamond and Horovitz stated emphatically at the end of their short public statement.
A lawyer for GoldieBlox did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In its filing, the company argued that the original, protected version of “Girls” presents girls as “useful only to the extent they fulfill the wishes of the male subjects.”
“Girls, to do the dishes. Girls, to clean up my room. Girls to do the laundry,” the original lyrics read.
The “new version” in the GoldieBlox video has “a revised set of lyrics celebrating the many capabilities of girls” and rejects “stereotypical play as princesses with tiaras,” the lawsuit stated.
“Girls, to build a spaceship. Girls, to code the new app. Girls, to grow up knowing that they can engineer that,” the new lyrics read.
“GoldieBlox created its parody video with specific goals to make fun of the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes and to encourage young girls to engage in activities that challenge their intellect, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” the lawsuit said.
A case management hearing has been set for Feb. 19.
The third member of the Beastie Boys, Adam “MCA” Yauch, died last year from cancer at age 47.