CONTENT WARNING: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about misconduct which may be triggering to survivors.
Disclaimer: This article is marked ‘comment’ for good reason.
The below statement was made by an Australian artist manager, days after screen shots between himself and an underage girl regarding misconduct allegations against one of his band members were leaked.
“There is a lot the music industry can learn in terms of educating and supporting both managers and artists in how to deal with sensitive situations to ensure a bright future for young Australian artists and their fans.”
The above statement was just part of an overall comment issued to TMN to address his handling of the alleged misconduct. Spoiler: he handled it poorly.
At no point did this manager go to the police about the illegal misconduct carried out by the artist he managed. Instead, as noted in the screen shots (some of which were published by TIO), he asked the young woman to remove her public posts about the incident. His reason? His band’s reputation was at risk.
“These claims can be very damaging, even career destroying to an artist,” he wrote in a message to the young woman, perhaps unable to recognise the damage already done to this young woman.
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On this International Women’s Day, it is not his poor handling of the situation that brings my blood to boiling point. Sadly, I have come to expect this kind of behaviour from many male executives in the music industry – take a cursory glance at the Instagram page called ‘Beneath The Glass Ceiling’ if you need reminding. No, it’s his aforementioned statement where he says the music industry can learn from this situation “in terms of educating and supporting both managers and artists”.
To this artist manager and all people in this music industry, I say this: it is not up to the music industry to give you a moral compass. It is not the job of your boss, or your peers, or our organisations, to teach you the integrity it takes to not gaslight people and protect abusers – especially when the alleged behaviour that you needed “support” to handle, was entirely illegal.
The casual nature of the comment – perceived from where I’m sitting as a passing of the buck – has an eerie similarity to the ‘boys will be boys’ culture that has fed our patriarchy into the portly beast it is now.
More than that, this artist manager describing the incident as a “sensitive situation”, when said situation involved an of-age male and a minor, is horrifying. The laws on this are plain and simple.
The fight toward gender parity continues. More battles will be won, but recent history tells us many could be lost as well. To those reading who currently hold positions of power, if you are confronted with a choice between right and wrong, as this manager was, please choose right. Personal integrity can come in many shapes and forms, but cases like the above, where the law is involved, are plain to see. And you shouldn’t need support or guidance from an institution to tell you that.
And to the artist manager and his lawyer who threatened me personally with litigation after TIO revealed the allegations: Your actions are only further proof that there is a well-oiled machine in this music industry, created to instil fear in women to stop them coming forward. I won’t for one second say that I am not fearful, I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to challenge that well-oiled machine.
I also have faith that a positive change is coming; and it starts with each and every one of us.