By Calum Slingerland
Published Apr 25, 2018

The executive board of Germany’s Music Industry Association (BVMI) has decided to discontinue the ECHO Music Prize in the wake of backlash against a pair of winners with anti-Semitic lyrics.

The decision to end the country’s top music prize, which has been handed out since 1992, comes after organizers awarded rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang the prize for Best Hip-Hop/Urban Album and let them perform at the April 12 ceremonies despite writing explicit anti-Semitic lyrics.

While the rappers performed a different song at the ceremony, the track “O815,” for example, contains anit-Semitic lyrics such “My body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates” and “Do a holocaust again and come over with the Molotov.”

Billboard reports that ECHO organizers failed to take complaints from national Jewish organizations seriously ahead of the awards ceremonies. Past recipients of the prize even returned their awards in protest.

In a statement shared through the ECHO’s website, BVMI announced plans to overhaul the brand for a fresh start, without being recognized as a platform for hatred and violence.

The restructuring means all committees involved with ECHO will cease activities, with the new awards for popular music placing greater emphasis on jury selection, not unlike their ECHO KLASSIK and ECHO JAZZ awards.

The executive board noted that a new prize would be crafted at a workshop scheduled for June, while also engaging in a debate on the limits of artistic freedom.

You can find the organization’s statement in German below.