Music business

The music industry hasn’t come to terms with its #MeToo account. A new foundation wants to change that – Rolling Stone

For years now, A common question among advocates of the #MeToo movement is when the music industry will face its own judgment. Musicians like Ryan Adams, Marylin Manson and R. Kelly alongside powerful executives like Russell Simmons and Charlie Walk have all faced charges after decades of alleged misconduct, but that hardly scratches the service. A new advocacy foundation is long overdue.

The Face the music now The foundation, launched on Thursday, bills itself as the first-ever group aimed specifically at helping victims of sexual harassment and abuse in the music industry get their stories out there and report their abuse. Founded by music industry lawyer and author Dorothy Carvello, the foundation’s goals include helping survivors find a lawyer, connecting survivors with the media, and advocating for legislation. supporting victims of sexual abuse, such as the Adult Survivors Act in New York.

“This is a first step that has never been taken before. No one had a safe space to come and report sexual abuse before,” Carvello said. rolling stone. “Women are afraid to speak. Look what happened with Kesha. The kind of treatment she faced is what so many survivors face, and it discourages them from coming forward. (The singer has been in a legal battle with Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald for years over allegations of abuse. Gottwald has denied all charges.)

Carvello began her career as Ahmet Ertegun’s assistant at Atlantic Records in the late 1980s before rising through the ranks to become the label’s first female A&R executive. In his 2018 book All for once she writes about several instances of sexual harassment Ertegun allegedly committed and noted how she was fired after refusing to sit on a male colleague’s lap in a meeting. She claims she reported the incident to the Atlantic brass and was released the following morning.

Since the release of her book, Carvello has become more involved in advocating for victims of sexual abuse in the music industry, becoming an activist shareholder in all three major music companies at the end of last year. Through shareholder activism, she hopes to push for more music industry transparency with her own financial arms as leverage.

“The music industry has a policy of omertá, a mob mentality of silence,” says Carvello. “After publishing the book, so many survivors reached out to me with their stories, and I knew I had to do something to help these women change the lack of responsibility men have in the music industry.

Carvello wants her foundation to have a presence in the music business, but she says she won’t receive any funding from a major music company, nor does she expect to get their help. “I will not ask them for any financial support,” says Carvello. “And it will be the same for everyone. This includes touring and Live Nation, indies; It’s all the same man, just structured on a different base and level of power.

For the foundation’s board, Carvello tapped Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Media and Entertainment dean Beverly Keel, songwriter and former music executive Bruce Roberts, and former secret agent Rob Savage III.

Keel met Carvello when she spoke with music industry students at MTSU. Prior to joining Face the Music Now, Keel founded Change the conversation, a coalition to promote gender equity in the country music industry. She is also co-founder of Nashville Music Equitya foundation created in 2020 to fight racism in country music.

Face the Music Now isn’t the first foundation to champion equity for women in the music industry, with bands like Keel’s Change the Conversation, She is the music and the women in music foundation all previously established with the mission to help champion women in business. But as Keel says, it was the first foundation she had heard of specifically focused on sexual harassment in the industry.

Keel noted that despite how the #MeToo discourse has become mainstream across industries, she’s surprised to still hear recent graduates talk about instances of harassment, given how much more socially aware the business world has become. what is acceptable and the potential repercussions.

One of the foundation’s most immediate goals is to end the music industry’s practice of covering up allegations of sexual harassment with NDAs and to get music companies to allow those who have signed the documents to speak without punishment.

“Too often, women have had to choose. Speak it out or pursue a career in the music business. It’s always been the case if you sue, you end your career because no one else will hire you,” Keel says. “Hopefully this will help women report these allegations. You are not the villain, you are the victim.

A foundation like this is not anti-men, it is anti-illegal behaviour,” she adds. When someone is harassed, the first instinct is to surround the wagons and protect the company. It becomes a business problem, how do they minimize it? So it becomes ‘Let’s give him some money, get him to sign an NDA and let’s go.’ Women are branded troublemakers and sidelined while men keep their jobs. We need to stop this pattern.

Carvello and Keel both stress that Face the Music Now should not be seen as an anti-music business or a combative weapon to fight with the companies. They hope it will be a vector of progress that will let survivors know they are not alone and encourage them more to move forward.

“A lot of women don’t want to have to fight like I’ve fought my whole career; it’s exhausting and taxing,” says Carvello. “But it is necessary. A lot of people don’t feel like there’s a reward at the end. I hope that with the launch of this foundation and the union of the women who have come to me, there is strength in numbers and that the music industry will finally have to hold these men accountable.