TRIGGER WARNING: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.
The #metoo movement seems to have skipped Australia’s music industry, but a new confession from a known local artist manager shows this country needs it more than ever.
Ben Preece, the Managing Director at Brisbane-based artist management and marketing firm Mucho-Bravado has come forward following allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.
In a statement posted to his personal Facebook page – and shared to the Mucho-Bravado Facebook page then deleted – Ben Preece noted it was “Jaguar Jonze’s recent revelations about inappropriate men in the music industry” that inspired the post.
Brisbane artist Jaguar Jonze called out Melbourne photographer Jack Stafford last week after 59 industry professionals came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. Stafford released his own statement via Medium addressing the allegations of sexual abuse made against him.
The original Facebook post was published by Ben Preece on Friday evening, July 17 was published with a trigger warning.
“It has been a long time coming and is beyond overdue. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to address this publicly – to make it earlier would’ve been from a place of fear and I had to learn,” he wrote.
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Later in the post Preece noted he was initially “called out” for his behaviour at BIGSOUND in 2018 but said he was “aware of certain social media posts this week that I worry are also referring to me.”
“Your experience would have been inappropriate comments from me, poor retaliation, creepy behaviour and then, more than likely, it was a shitty, disrespectful message that was manipulative and usually after rejection,” he wrote.
“I would have then minimised it all or tried to tell you that you imagined it, making you feel unsafe in your working environment or even wary of other men,” he added. “I’ve said some things that, to have them repeated to me recently, make my own skin crawl.”
The Facebook post coincides with a personal account of sexual misconduct posted to Instagram. In the post by a female with the Instagram handle @yagirlpartyb, a “Brisbane artist manager & Marketing Director/Owner of a Music Business” allegedly tried to blackmail her into having sex with him.
You can read a view posts from her Instagram below:
In a statement sent to The Industry Observer today, Preece stated the following;
“On Friday, I made a statement on my personal Facebook regarding my inappropriate behaviour with women over the years. I’m the sole director, and owner of Mucho Bravado, a partnership I co-founded with Ange Kohler in 2007.
“I know that my staff over recent years have had an awfully difficult time working for me, holding up the front line while these stories and my behaviour were constantly at the back of their mind. For that, I am truly sorry.
“Actions to modify my business model have been adjusted to ensure no more harm is caused to anyone. I will not provide any direct services to young women. The office was closed in 2018 and I’ve not had staff or interns since.
“The current roster comprises of only three male project management artists and I recently completed radio plugging for one additional female artist with main correspondence via a promotional team. All other publicity campaigns were handed over to other publicists early last week.”
We live in an industry where women make up just 38% of those on public boards of peak music bodies, and only 20% of APRA payments went to women in 2019. With instances such as the few laid out by Ben Preece, any deterrent due to harassment or abuse has the power prevent a music industry career completely.
Read Ben Preece’s full Facebook statement addressing his sexual misconduct below:
TRIGGER WARNING //
(this may bring up pain and questions, please read with support if necessary)
Jaguar Jonze’s recent revelations about about inappropriate men in the music industry have led me to write this and bring my own accountability and honesty into the open – it has been a long time coming and is beyond overdue. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to address this publicly – to make it earlier would’ve been from a place of fear and I had to learn.
To all the young women who I’ve hurt in the past — I’m sorry. Your awful experience with me isn’t imagined, it is real, it wasn’t your fault and there are no more ifs, buts or maybes. I’m sorry for disrespecting you, for degrading, hurting, belittling and sexualising you while you were in pursuit of your dreams and passion in the music industry.
Your experience would have been inappropriate comments from me, poor retaliation, creepy behaviour and then, more than likely, it was a shitty, disrespectful message that was manipulative and usually after rejection. I would have then minimised it all or tried to tell you that you imagined it, making you feel unsafe in your working environment or even wary of other men. I’ve said some things that, to have them repeated to me recently, make my own skin crawl.
I’m sorry, so sorry.
I know these things leave permanent wounds – no one deserves that power over anyone and I’m mortified that I abused mine. I’m sorry.
It has been a couple of years now, since BIGSOUND 2018, where I was initially called-out, in addition I’m aware of certain social media posts this week that I worry are also referring to me. With the help of industry peers, I’ve been working to completely understand the extent of accountability needed to encompass the last 15 years of my career and exactly how to address it. I promise I’ve not ignored you, I assure you it hasn’t been “business as usual” and I’ve been working on this in therapy for quite a few years.
I didn’t grasp just how flawed and incredibly inappropriate I was, I’m not the young, defensive asshole anymore and I want to be accountable for my past harms. I’m calm, my heart is open and I’ve identified and quit indulging past patterns of behaviour. I’m learning how to be better and will not stop.
I understand the conversations this note will spark and I’m prepared to have them. I understand its brevity isn’t good enough or near enough to alleviate the hurt and trauma I’ve caused – it’s only skimming the surface of a much larger conversation I’ve been having and I’m prepared to continue and hear.
To my friends and colleagues whose integrity I’ve compromised during this time and because of my behaviour and denial, I apologise.
I sincerely hope this can be an invitation to anyone who I’ve hurt, to continue the conversation with me (or via a safe, connecting person). This could be a facilitated conversation by a professional in a supportive space or whatever is necessary for you to move forward. I acknowledge that there’s nothing easy about this, but you have my honesty and I want you to know you are heard and respected.
It’s time for me to step back and listen.