Nearly 2,000 women working in the Swedish music industry have alleged that they have experienced sexual assault, harassment or overt sexism during their career – in an open letter calling for drastic change.
The news was broken via Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Friday (November 17).
It has since become a rolling national story in the market, and shaken the Nordic entertainment industry to its core – coming just six weeks after the Harvey Weinstein scandal began to engulf Hollywood.
The Swedish petition is signed by 1,993 women who work as producers, artists, songwriters, DJs, artist managers, A&Rs, booking agents, publishers and more besides.
Their ranks include globally renowned performers such as Robyn, First Aid Kit and Zara Larsson (all pictured).
Others featured amongst the 1,993 signees – who have all given their names – include both junior and senior employees at all three major labels, as well as people working at independent record companies, publishers, live promoters and booking agents.
The most concerning aspect of the open letter: a series of anonymised stories from some of the women containing historical allegations of abuse – not to mention criminal behaviour – by powerful male industry figures.
“These are excerpts from hundreds of testimonies.”
These include allegations of rape and attempted rape, both by musicians and music business executives.
“These stories do not describe a few events distributed over many years,” reads the letter (translated).
“These are excerpts from hundreds of testimonies, all of which took place in what we call the music industry. They depict what is going on every day.”
The letter continues: “In the music industry, we work around the clock, often with unsafe and temporary employment. Being courteous and not worrying becomes extra important… this makes women in the music industry targets for power demonstrations that are often of a sexual nature.
“We live in a life… where we are objectified and where sexual abuse and harassment are more common than [not].
“If we report these events [the result] is words speaking against words… we tie our fists into our pockets and rarely mention [these incidents]. Silence culture prevails. But we will no longer be silent… We demand zero tolerance against sexual exploitation and violence.
“We know who you are.”
“Sexual abuse or violence should have consequences in terms of [employment] termination.”
It ends: “We will support all the stories we have shared with and have learned. We will continue to listen to each other and support each other. We will lay the shame where it belongs – with the perpetrator and those who protect them.
“We speak with one voice and will not comment on the content of this article. A no is a no – respect it!
“We know who you are.”
You can see the names of the 1,993 women who undersigned the letter over on DN through this link.Music Business Worldwide