Quantcast
BBC DOC EXPLORES SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN MUSIC BIZ

The U.K. music industry has been shaken by a BBC documentary today that reported on some disturbing stories of sexual harassment and abuse by executives who are reportedly still working in the business.

Four women were featured in the film: manager Yasmin Lajoie, artist Chloe Howl, music supervisor Michelle De Vries and an anonymous artist. The investigation follows open letters from hundreds of women in the Swedish and Australian music industries demanding an end to sexual harassment and abuse. 

The BBC investigation, led by journalist Jean MacKenzie, has been going on for a month. Of the many women she spoke to, both on and off the record, there were reports of sinister behaviour, harassment, assault and predatory behaviour.  “There’s a feeling in this industry that you have to be sexually available to get ahead, and if you aren’t willing to do [certain] things, opportunities can go away,” she said.

“It’s an industry in which there are huge imbalances of power, there are people at the top who really hold people’s hopes and dreams in their hands, and at the bottom of the totem pole are people trying to break into an industry that's fun, competitive and exciting.  “When you get that power dynamic you create an environment where abuse can happen and perpetrators can get away with it. There’s a real culture of silence that exists, people are terrified to talk about this because there is a real feeling that if you speak out, you’ll lose your job and you might never work in the industry again.”

Lajoie, who now works for Empire Artist Management, joined the music industry aged 21 as an A&R at Sony/ATV. She told the BBC that her first instance of abuse happened with a music manager who sexually assaulted her after a gig. “It was one of the most horrible experiences of my life, I felt truly violated,” she said. After telling people at work, she was “encouraged to keep quiet on the matter because it would [ruin] our chances of signing his artists.”

During the #MeToo movement, Lajoie put out a call on social media asking for stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the U.K. music industry. “I expected stories of sexual harassment, but what I’ve received is stories of rape, [men] insisting on receiving blow jobs, seriously assaulting women, chasing them down the street and raping them in apartments owned by major music companies.

“It’s endemic, I don’t have a single peer in the music industry who hasn’t been sexually harassed or assaulted. I have no doubt that there are people working in the music industry who should be in prison and who think they are safe and untouchable.”

De Vries’ account dated back to when she was offered a job abroad and asked to stay at the apartment of an older more senior male colleague because her work permit hadn’t yet come through. “He walked into my room with no clothes on and told me he wanted to sleep with me. I was a young girl and didn't know how to handle it because I’d never come across this [behaviour] before. He’d masturbate in front of me, and on me, and say, ‘I know you really like it.’ I felt ashamed. I felt like a sex slave.” She told a lawyer at work who warned that she’d never work in the industry again if she reported it. “He’s still in the industry and I know for a fact that he’s had other allegations against him,” said De Vries.

Howl was signed fresh out of school at 16 and was harassed by a man she was working closely with. “I felt pressured to flirt back with him and not make it seem weird because I didn’t want to disappoint this guy who I thought held my career in his hands.”

The artist who didn’t reveal her identity and went under the pseudonym ‘Amy’ was “blackmailed” and “threatened” into a relationship with an executive at a “big music company” who found her releasing music online at 15. They worked together and achieved chart success, after which he displayed manipulative and controlling behaviour, eventually sexually assaulting her.

Umbrella trade body UK Music responded to the report by saying that it takes "any allegations extremely seriously, and will always offer support and confidentiality to any complainant and do our utmost to guide them towards the help and advice they need."

I.B. BAD TUNES IN
New label bosses, Grammys, must-see TV, more. (1/19a)
NIPPER TAPS CO-PRESIDENTS
...or Riccenstein (1/19a)
MARKETSHARE
IN THE U.K., 2017 
They're pounding it across the pond. (1/19a)
HITS LIST & VINE
Not so lonely at the top (1/19a)
THE GRAMMY WHISPERER PICKS MORE  KEY WINNERS
Grein does some genre-jumping. (1/19a)
GRAMMY WHAMMY
Who's performing, for reals.
PLUGGING INTO POWER
Which major pop figure is pondering a move into politics?
BUILDING A BETTER PIZZA
Let's talk crust.
I'M A STABLE GENIUS
Pass the Big Macs.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)