Gal-dem (a new media publication, committed to telling the stories of people of colour from marginalised genders) and Vice (the self-defined definitive guide to enlightening information) have collaborated to share ‘Open Secrets’ - an editorial series that explores abusive behaviour in the music industry.
A need for change
‘Open Secrets’ explain that, the informality of the business means a world of late-night recording sessions, boozy tour buses and bars as offices. The defence for bad behaviour often relies on claims about the “blurred lines” of these environments – that it is built into a culture where work and play frequently cross over.
It also states that, this is an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men, with women, femmes and non-binary people often tokenised and lacking support. In a business that relies heavily on freelance work, reporting harassment or abuse is an unwieldy process that only underlines the precarity of one’s employment.
The MU has been cited for research by the series, with information taken from our Report on Sexual Harrassment. Gal-dem quote that:
“According to the Musicians’ Union, almost half of musicians have experienced sexual harassment at work”.
The Union is also listed as one of the ‘Open Secrets’ Resources, for anyone impacted by the issues of abuse, assault and violence in the music industry.
Some of the articles featured, all of which are free to read and share, include the following titles (please note that there may be content trigger warnings):
Support at the MU
The MU Safe Space scheme allows musicians to report cases of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the music industry. You can report your own experiences or cases that you have witnessed, using the anonymous online reporting tool.
We want to build up a picture of the problems that exist and seek long term solutions. We are campaigning for laws to protect musicians at work and are on a mission to create cultural change within the music industry.
The MU’s Safe Space can provide: advice on your rights; information about relevant support services; advice on your options and further steps in cases of bullying, discrimination and other inappropriate behaviour.
Additionally the Union can help members with: raising a complaint with an employer, engager, or even directly with the perpetrator; seeking redress; disciplinary action under MU rules.
There is also key advice and information regarding sexual harrassment at work, available via our resource page, which includes the Music Sector Code of Practice and The Report on Sexual Harrassment in the Music Industry.