Robyn, Tove Lo, & Zara Larsson Among Thousands Of Women To Sign Open Letter Denouncing Sexual Abuse in Swedish Music Industry
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:33:04
Robyn, Tove Lo, and Zara Larsson are among 1,993 women who have signed an open letter decrying sexual abuse in the Swedish music industry. The letter was published in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter last week, and is filled with stories of abuse from a variety of unnamed musicians.
After the stories finish, the end of the letter reads:
These stories describe a few occasions over many years. They are an extract of hundreds of testimonies, all of them from what we call the music industry. They describe things that happen every day. We have been forced to develop strategies in order to protect ourselves. Creating separatist contexts where men are not welcome is an example.
The people who reproduce the culture of silence, and make sure it is kept in place, are the same men who sit in TV-programmes, in t-shirts with feminist aphorisms written on them, or who set quotas for how many female artists should be booked to play at big festivals.
The discrepancy between words and actions is enormous, and the values and policies, which are decided in the industry concerning sexism and equality, are all nice words on blank papers.
In the music industry we work 24/7, often with insecure contracts and temporary employment. Being accommodating and not making a fuss is important in order to not be replaced. This makes women in the music industries targets of power demonstrations, often with a sexual nature. In our existence laws on consent are far away, we are objectified and sexual assault and harassment are more rule than exception. If we report these incidents the cases are usually dropped before being investigated, as it's our word against theirs. If we talk back we lose our jobs or are subjected to threats. We clench our fists in our pockets and seldom talk about this topic, not even with each other. The culture of silence prevails.
But we will no longer be silent. We demand zero tolerance for sexual exploitation or violence. Sexual assault or violence will have consequences in terms of terminations of contracts.
The people in power in the industry — it's your responsibility to make sure that no one is sexually vulnerable at the work place, and you have failed. We will get support from the stories we have shared and listened to. We will continue to listen to each other and support each other. We will put shame back where it belongs - with the perpetrators and the people protecting them.
We all speak with one voice and we will not comment the content of this article further. No means no — respect that!
We know who you are.
Three major record labels have since responded with statements. Sony Music Entertainment Sweden managing director Mark Dennis said, "Thank you to those who dared to share their stories during these days," Dennis wrote on Facebook. "This is an extremely dark side of the music industry which now, thankfully, comes in the light it should be. We will put all the effort to correct these distortions and, at the same time, note with great sadness that we have taken far too easy on what has proved to be a frightening structural problem." Per Sundin, CEO of Universal Music Group Sweden, stated "We have a responsibility and we must act now!" Warner Music's president in the Nordics, Jonas Siljemark, told Music Business Worldwide that "It's taken true bravery to step forward and speak up about these terrible problems. We must work together to create the changes that will help rid our industry of harassment and discrimination."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff