With Radar Radio suspending broadcasting to investigate accusations of harassment, it seems that it is now not a case of “if”, but “when” the Music Industry will have its #MeToo moment.
The success of the #MeToo movement within the film industry and later the fashion industry led women (and men) to share stories of sexual violence, misconduct and harassment that seemed rife in these sectors. It followed the public revelation of allegations against powerful figures in the industry such as Harvey Weinstein, Bryan Singer & Kevin Spacey.
But after an insightful Victoria Derbyshire news programme highlighting “endemic” harassment in the UK music industry and a recent BBC documentary centring around the dubious behaviours of multi-award winning artist “R Kelly”, the accusations about the “toxic environment” at Radar Radio has hit even closer to home.
We listen to Radar Radio almost daily in our office. It doesn’t play the same stuff over and over again every half an hour, they play artists that we want to hear and don’t often get to hear on air. The DJs are young and relatable, the guests aren’t media trained or even prepared at times. It makes it a bit of a community.
This is why the accusations by former staff are so disappointing. Hearing female producers accounts of being “sexually harassed, like, f***ing tonnes, by dickhead DJ dudes” reminds us that not only does this happen, but you could be ignored if you talk about it.
After a recent viral Coachella interview, it seems that no matter your status or sex, you stand to be potentially silenced; Famous US rapper “Vince Staples” called out R Kelly, much to the dismay of the interviewer who cried “Let’s never talk about R Kelly. We can’t ever talk about this guy.” But Vince continued… “R. Kelly is a piece of fu*king sh*t. If a piece of fu*king sh*t R. Kelly didn’t go to jail for being a child molester and peeing on people and having a human trafficking ring in Atlanta, I’ll be all right.”
So, in the office we wonder about reporting harassment that might happen to us further down the line in our careers? In an industry where success is based on networking and connections, it is hard to “grass someone up” or complain when you yourself might be judged for it….
After all, it was only after the publication & public attention surrounding PXSSY Palace leaving the station and public statement that gathered traction in the community & online that led to the station taking such drastic action.
This issue highlights that without the public attention or support, these situations often continue for years. Speaking to our boss about her rise in the industry, she laid out a series of shocking things that she heard, saw or was subjected too and with usual eye rolling cynicism, she confirmed, this is often how it was, it often wasn’t malicious, it was just so common it was considered “banter” or “trying it”. “She doesn’t think it is acceptable for our us or our generation going forward, so what is going to change it?
In December last year the BBC reported that sexual abuse and harassment is “endemic” in the music industry and is blighted by “dangerous men” abusing their power. These incidences need to be made public, but do we need to see naming and shaming? Or maybe it is about better safeguarding procedures and education in organisations?
One thing is for sure – doing nothing isn’t working for us.