The Brit Awards: acceptance speeches allowed, as long as they’re not about equality

Sexual abuse; at best it’s degrading, at worst, it can have physical and psychological implications for the rest of the victim’s life. Apparently, this is of no consequence to Ant and Dec, who, after Adele used her first acceptance speech at this year’s Brit awards to show support for Kesha’s recent court case, proceeded to stare blankly at each other before applauding in an obviously lacklustre manner.

Earlier this month, a New York judge told Kesha that she must continue to produce music according to Sony’s contract, despite her allegations that her producer, Dr Luke, assaulted her. Although the allegations are unproven, photographs of Kesha’s tearful reaction to this ruling show a woman who was emotionally devastated by the fear of having to work with Dr Luke again, and not a woman desperate for attention. This might not be evidence enough to convict a man, but it was enough to warrant the support of other big names, including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, and Adele, as well as the support of music fans across the globe. If there was so much as a suspicion that this was a publicity stunt on Kesha’s part, it is highly unlikely that so many people would show their support.

Perhaps the reason for Ant and Dec’s mediocre response to Adele’s powerful use of her celebrity status, is the fact that many tables at the Brit’s were surrounded by top executives from Sony, who may not have given financial support to ITV in coming years had the Brit’s hosts shown any signs of sympathy for Kesha. If this is the case, then Ant and Dec were merely following the instructions of an overpaid producer, manipulating them like puppets to ensure that their bonuses equalled their salaries. Surely it has not escaped the notice of ITV that the BBC are still defending themselves as to their role in Jimmy Savile’s paedophilic habits over four years after his death?

It should also be remembered that even the slightest allegation of sexual assault in some jobs, such as in teaching, would be enough to have that member of staff removed from the role immediately, only allowing them to return if the allegations are solidly evidenced as false.

Sexual assault is not an issue to be taken lightly, and every single victim needs the support of those around them. It is incomprehensible to me that someone could see Kesha’s emotional trauma in court, and still continue to value Sony’s financial powers over the devastation this causes in Kesha’s commercial and personal life. If celebrities are being ignored when it comes to sexual assault, then just how many members of the public are there who are afraid to speak out?

Emma Steer 

Image courtesy of Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

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