APRA revokes Thomas Oliver’s award after attack
Content Warning: This article covers sexual assault & harassment and may be triggering for some readers. If you or someone you know are affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
APRA has revoked New Zealand singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver’s prestigious Silver Scroll award after he admitted this week to assaulting a woman at a music event in 2017.
Wellington-based Oliver won the award in 2016 for his song ‘If I Move To Mars’.
In a statement issued May 27, APRA said it was “concerned and disappointed” to hear about Oliver’s actions.
“These kinds of behaviours have no place in our music community,” it added.
Anthony Healey, head of APRA’s New Zealand operations, said the organisation had no tolerance for this type of behaviour.
“This is a matter that we have taken seriously and considered deeply.
“Our position in relation to matters of safety, sexual harm and harassment is clear, we have no tolerance of it.
“We have reached out to Thomas and his management and advised them that his APRA Silver Scroll Award title from 2016 will be revoked, and his name will be removed from our award records and from the trophy.”
APRA is reviewing all its terms and conditions for participation in its awards and programs, and also reviewing its complaints procedures.
These will be made public in due course.
The association also advised other victims of the writer to “consider the independent services available to them for support, advice, or to take a complaint forward if they want to do so”.
Oliver has admitted to, and apologised for, the incident which took place at a New Zealand Music Awards after-party, and said he is pursuing rehabilitation.
He grabbed a guest around her neck when she spurned his advances, although he claimed he was so drunk he couldn’t remember his actions.
The victim was a staffer at government music content funding body New Zealand On Air. A former employee of RNZ Music witnessed the incident and intervened.
NZ On Air recently apologised to the staffer, saying it was aware of the assault when it happened, and encouraged her to meet with him as she would have to work with him.
Since the assault, NZ On Air financed two of Oliver’s videos to the tune of NZ$16,000.
“At the time, we believed we were responding appropriately, but we now understand we should have done more to support our staff member in subsequent months, until she ultimately left us almost two years later.
“As an organisation that is working hard to support and encourage more women into the music industry we realise our response at the time did not live up to what we would now expect, and have reached out to our former staff member to offer a sincere apology.
“We now have clearer processes in place to respond to such incidents.”