Video Removed in Beth Orton-Joshua Tree Controversy

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Not exactly like tagging a subway car, eh?

By Blurt Staff

Earlier this month Brit avant chanteuse Beth Orton released a video for the track “1973,” which will be on the upcoming Andrew Hung (Fuckbuttons)-co-produced Kicsticks album. Shot in the desert, the surreal, brightly-colored clip (directed by Tierney Gearon) included a scene in which Orton is shown spraypainting a Joshua tree. As it turns out, the yucca palm is a protected species, which means harming or destroying one is a federal offense.

An outcry subsequently erupted and a Change.org petition soon appeared in which Orton was advised to donate to the Mojave Desert Land Trust in order to cover costs of the cleanup. Among some of the more high-profile commenters: Jay Babcock, founder of the late great culture magazine Arthur:

Ancient joshua tree illegally vandalized by @beth_orton for music video. Spray paint will kill this tree. · Joshua Tree, CA, United States

Over the weekend it appears that Orton took the video down, and posted an apology at Facebook: “I am so sorry. I feel sick with disgust,” she writes. “I was told the tree was already dead. I will take the video down now. Please let me know what I can do to help make some kind of amends. I did not direct the video and was following direction but now I know what I have been part of I feel utterly devastated and of course take responsibility for my part. I am truly and deeply sorry.”

No word yet whether or not the tree was in fact dead, or if it turns out it was not dead, if Orton will respond positively to the petition’s demand.

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