News May 12, 2021

85% of women in the local music industry have experienced sexual harassment [report]

85% of women in the local music industry have experienced sexual harassment [report]
Source: #MeToo Facebook

A new report on sexual harassment and bullying in the Australian and New Zealand music industries found 65% of the women surveyed experienced pressure to have sex and 85% experienced other forms of sexual harassment.

“Behind the gigs, the glamour, and the great sounds, working in the music industry should come with an occupational health warning,” Dr Jeff Crabtree said, author of Tunesmiths And Toxicity: Workplace Harassment In The Contemporary Music Industries of Australia and New Zealand.

The research was made up of 33 in-person interviews and 145 survey respondents.

Dr Crabtree, of the University of Technology in Sydney, found the music industry riddled with sexual harassment and bullying, and a number of instances of rape.

The problem was so widespread, he said, that females in the biz cop it from all sides.

This included bosses and male colleagues who feel an entitlement, to audiences who think a woman onstage is an acceptable lightning rod for personal abuse, to live and studio sound production engineers and musical instrumental retailers who assume it is OK for eye-rolling and contemptuous remarks when given instructions by a creative.

“The music industry is a world where powerful men prey on young women whose emerging careers they can snuff out in an instant; where men regularly abuse and harass their female colleagues but are never called to account”, Dr Crabtree said.

Intimidation, threats to reputations and careers, and the use of non-disclosure agreements are regarded as effective ways to maintain the status quo in the male-dominated work ethos.

One participant noted that as a woman you have to “adapt or die”.

“Ultimately the reason this problem persists is because men in power have learned that they can get away with it,” Dr Crabtree suggested.

“History has taught them that they are invulnerable and as a result, many of them feel entitled. I’m not surprised that we are seeing the same thing occurring in our private schools and in Parliament.

“The intersection of power and privilege allows people to act in a way that means that women are disposable. There has to be structural change.

“I think our society is crying out for our important institutions to develop a moral centre, where every human being should be treated with dignity and not treated as an object.

“That includes the music industry as much as it includes schools and parliaments.”

In the past 12 months, there have been high-profile sackings in Australia as Warner Music’s Scott Maclachlan and Sony Music’s Tony Glover, among others.

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