Spurred on by the downfall of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement has gained momentum in recent months, spotlighting the cases of sexual abuse and harassment experienced in several different industries. The music industry is one of the newer ones to have the spotlight shone on its indiscretions, with Def Jam founder Russell Simmons stepping down after abuse allegations.
In turn, the movement has crossed oceans and is now being felt in other countries. Perhaps one of the more notable recent examples involves an open letter co-signed by 2192 women of the Swedish music industry including artists Robyn and Zara Larsson who have shared their stories of abuse. Organizers of the Bravalla music festival also in Sweden have decided to cancel 2018’s event due to an alarming increase in the number of violent sexual assault incidents.
Now the ripple effect is being felt in the Australian music industry. A group of nearly 400 women have signed their names in an open letter, chronicling their experiences of assault, abuse, and harassment and inviting others to share and seek support. The letter is dubbed with the hashtag #meNOmore.
Among the many women sharing their experiences include several Australian musicians like Tina Arena, Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko and Courtney Barnett. The stories come from performers and non-performers, managers, promoters, and journalists. The allegations range from verbal harassment to violent acts.
Names of perpetrators are not mentioned explicitly, though the letter notes that: “We know the same names that are repeated in unrelated circles.” Examples cited include prominent international and Australian music managers and others that could not be revealed due to pre-arranged legal agreements.
The #meNOmore letter concludes: “There is no place for sexual entitlement in the workplace and in our industry. Change starts today.”