Brow Beat

Fiona Apple Pledges “Criminal” Earnings to Support Asylum-Seekers

Fiona Apple performs at El Rey Theatre on Sept. 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Fiona Apple, pictured here at a 2014 performance in Los Angeles, will donate two years of royalties to fund for U.S. asylum-seekers.
Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Fiona Apple has pledged to donate all of the 2019 and 2020 royalties from her successful 1996 single “Criminal” to While They Wait, a fund that provides refugees and asylum seekers with basic necessities and legal support. ” ‘Criminal’ is my most requested song,” the singer wrote in a Tumblr post.

In the past I have used my ‘Criminal’ money to help friends or family. However, after months and month of reading the the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help. … It seems to me that the best way I can help detainees is to contribute to payment of their legal fees.

While They Wait is a fund coordinated through Brooklyn Defender Services and RAICES that supports immigrants seeking legal status in the U.S. while their applications are being processed—which can sometimes take years. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there were 325,277 pending asylum cases in the U.S. as of Jan. 21, 2018, with each case taking up an average of 727 days to complete. Apple wrote that she will use the proceeds from “Criminal” to “help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice” and encourages others to follow her lead. As conditions continue to deteriorate in immigration facilities, Apple’s donation pledge sets a positive standard for other musicians and actors looking to put their royalties to good use.