#MeToo: Sexual Harassment and the Music Industry

Sexual harassment of any sort is condemned by society, however the topic is also widely stigmatised and often kept quiet. Following the overwhelming response on social media to the ‘Me Too’ campaign, it’s important to consider the extent to which sexual harassment has plagued our society. This in particular is considered something of a grey area within the music industry with the notion that ‘sex sells’.

Quite a famous example of sexual harassment in the music industry is the recent case between the producer Dr Luke and singer Kesha. The singer was denied the rights to be freed from her contract, as the court seemingly sided with her abuser. The ongoing case brought obvious distress to Kesha, however Dr Luke appeared to be given the benefit of the doubt by court ruling. This establishes fear for women (not just for females across the music industry), as this implements the message that women should not speak up about the abuse they are facing. This is very dangerous as if women are not listened to and taken seriously when it comes to reporting the harassment they have received, then what’s in place to stop some men from continuing this sexual behaviour.

Singer-songwriter Lady Gaga, who actively speaks out against sexual harassment, has come under the criticism of the likes of Piers Morgan (who accuses the musician of lying). With male members of society actively trying to dispute any claims of sexual abuse out there, it’s difficult for women to speak out without receiving criticism. The sad truth is that for some women, it’s a safer option to keep quiet and suffer alone than to try and get justice for the crimes against them. It’s important to note that sexual harassment can come in any form, and is not exclusive to physical assault. Any kind of sexual behaviour, such as unwanted flirtatious comments or inappropriate suggestions are all classed as sexual harassment.

With the idea that women somehow bring this upon themselves, the fight against sexual harassment is far from over – this is just the surface of the ongoing misogyny women face throughout their daily lives. Yet, whilst women are often the victims of sexual harassment, men can also be exposed to this kind of behaviour, and it’s important to speak out for all of those who have been affected. In a recent interview with Tom Jones, the singer opened up about a previous encounter with sexual harassment. “What’s tried on women is tried on men as well’. Whilst females are more commonly targeted, men can also be victims of this sexual harassment. Men face the pressure of not wanting to speak out as they fear being seen as weak, with others being unable to comprehend the idea that sexual attention from women might not be wanted as men are told that they should be ‘grateful’ for the attention.

Regardless of gender, sexual harassment can affect anyone at any age. Whether you know the person or not, if their sexual behaviour is making you uncomfortable it is important to make them aware of this and to speak to others for help.

Rachael Dickinson