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News April 13, 2021

Backlash over Mojo co-owner’s alleged behaviour expands to other WA venues

Backlash over Mojo co-owner’s alleged behaviour expands to other WA venues

A backlash against Mojo’s Bar in North Fremantle has extended to a call-out to other music venues in WA about safety in their premises.

Last week, Mojo’s –winner of the Most Popular Venue at this year’s WA Music Awards – revealed it had parted ways with its co-owner and managing director Andrew Ryan over his “prior conduct” which “caused others to feel uncomfortable”.

“Mojo’s Bar prides itself on being a safe and inclusive venue. Part of this is recognising flaws and acting on concerns,” the post read.

The fallout was instant, with artists and labels pulling out of scheduled gigs.

The venue has temporarily closed, while it works with community groups to provide a forum for reporting and/or counselling to anyone who felt unsafe at the premises or around its staff.

When it returns, it will be “the Mojo’s that our community can be proud of”

In the latest move, Lauren And The Goodfights called on other victims to come forward, and challenged venues to explain what measures they have to keep their patrons safe.

In a post tagged #perthvenuesspeakup, the band listed 30 venues from which it wanted “to make a statement about what they are doing to protect our workplaces and our patrons from dangerous and predatory behaviour from staff, management and patrons alike.

“We would like to platform the voices of the women and people of other genders on your staff and invite them to speak to this, not just the predominantly wyt cis dudes that seem to own and book these venues.

“This is serious. Our industry is dangerously failing to address this culture.

“Corporations have better workplace culture than we do.

“We don’t want damage control PR after people have suffered abuse.”

Other acts posted their agreement with the call or linked it.

#perthvenuesspeakup

Among the first to cancel was Canberra’s Genesis Owusu who shifted his sold-out show to Freo.Social, citing “gross fuckery going on” at Mojo’s and noting he has “no interest in playing in spaces where people feel unsafe”.

“I’m in full support of creating safe venues and calling out bad behaviour,” commented singer-songwriter Riley Pearce who moved the first show of his tour to May 8 at the Sonar Room.

“Music is supposed to bring people joy, connect a community and ease suffering, NOT create more.”

Stock Records postponed the launch of a split 7” single launch by The Last Quokka and False Cobra, explaining, “we do not feel it is appropriate to hold this event right now” and “we do not wish to hold this event if any of our friends and supporters would not feel comfortable attending”.

Yeast Spread explained the pulling of their April 5 show: “While it’s a shame to have to cancel a gig, it would be more shameful to ignore the concerns of our community and continue to play.”

Other WA acts including Stella Donnelly, Vacuum Dreamer, Renessco, and Mitch Santiago also voiced their opinions on social media.

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