The Wiggles have responded to reports than an Australian city played their song ‘Hot Potato’ on loop near a homeless shelter.
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The ABC reported that the city of Bunbury had been blasting their song nonstop near the Graham Bricknell Music Shell, where a regular makeshift shelter had been established.
Bunbury Mayor Jayson Miguel said that this use of ‘Hot Potato’ was intended to discourage “people to congregate permanently in an area and to deter antisocial behaviour”. Miguel further claimed that music had been playing near the shelter “for more than six months without incident”, saying it was a standard practise across the state.
However, it was reported that the music was switched off on Thursday (November 2) following public outcry and an intervention from The Wiggles.
“The Wiggles’ music is created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world,” a spokesperson for the band said. “We are deeply disappointed to hear that it is being used any other way.”
Locals who have stayed at the shelter reportedly said the music “drives us nuts”, and that “we’re getting sick of it.”
Miguel has alleged that on November 1, “someone had removed a padlock into the storage area of the shell and turned the volume of the music right up. The city has since rectified this and put the music back to an acceptable level.”
In 2016, the council came under fire for using the same tactic at the music shell by playing Peter Allen’s ‘I Go to Rio’.
According to the ABC, Miguel “did not know who made the decision to use ‘Hot Potato’,” but is now reviewing the city’s approach to using music: “We wouldn’t want to be in a situation where we’re causing any agony to any person though.”
The Western Australian Homelessness Minister John Carey said he was “deeply disappointed” with the city’s approach, saying: “I think it’s pretty clear that music won’t be the method [of choice].”
Last year, Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker joined The Wiggles on stage to perform ‘Hot Potato’ and his own hit ‘Elephant’, which The Wiggles previously covered on Triple J’s Like A Version. Their cover ended up topping the radio station’s Hottest 100 of 2021.
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