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#meNOmore: Aus artists and pros rally against sexual harassment

Inspired by their Swedish colleagues, agents, managers and artists including Courtney Barnett and Tina Arena have demanded an end to sexual misconduct in the music biz

By Jon Chapple on 12 Dec 2017

Australian singer Courtney Barnett is a signatory to the #meNOmore letter

Australian singer Courtney Barnett is a signatory to the #meNOmore letter


image © Rberr11/Wikimedia Commons

More than 350 leading female figures in Australian music, including top artists Courtney Barnett, the Veronicas, Tina Arena and Missy Higgins, have signed an open letter calling for “zero tolerance for sexual harassment, violence, objectification and sexist behaviours” in Australia’s music industry.

The letter, which also contains multiple anonymous accounts of alleged sexual harassment and assault, launches the #meNOmore movement, follows the similar #närmusikentystnar (‘when the music stops’) campaign in Sweden and a previous industry backed initiative in Australia, Your Choice, which aims to combat the “growing cultural issues around behaviour and lack of personal accountability” in the live music industry.

Swedish industry hit by new sexual harassment scandal

Some 360 women have signed the #meNOmore letter, including artists, agents, managers and label staff.

The stories shared in the letter, the authors note, range “from the tragic to the horrific to the everyday norm”: one female road crew member describes how a “huge international act’s” tour manager “looked me in the eyes and as he told the room there were only two types of women: bitches and sluts”, while another writes of a “well-known music manager who has a wife and kids [who] would constantly insist that I have sex with him. When I finally stood my ground, he stopped working with me and stopped talking to me.”

“My head has been pushed towards a colleague’s crotch and held there despite me saying no,” says another; another writes simply: “I am unable to reveal the details of my experience due to a confidentiality agreement which I was forced to sign.”

“In recent weeks, as Hollywood carried the torch of Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement and stories started breaking around the world, we found ourselves offering strength to our friends and colleagues who had their own stories to share – both publicly and in whispered circles,” write the #meNOmore letter’s authors. “It’s become clear that the magnitude of #MeToo extends to our own shores and to our own industry.

“It’s become clear that the magnitude of #MeToo extends to … our own industry”

“We are women who work in the Australian music industry. We are artists, musicians, managers, lawyers, booking agents, record label employees, publicists and more.

“We all have our own stories, or know someone who does. We are not whingers or vibe-killers. We are passionate people dedicating our lives to music. In the face of uncountable discrimination, harassment, violence and the general menace of sexist jargon, we have gritted our teeth and gotten on with the job. But today we say, no more.”

The issue of sexual harassment in the international music industry was first brought to light in October, after IQ discovered many women in live music have been subject to inappropriate behaviour from male counterparts, ranging from unwanted comments to physical sexual assault.

Representatives of the ‘big four’ multinational music agencies told IQ last month they are stepping up their efforts to protect clients and employees, as fresh allegations continue to surface across the entertainment world.

 


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