It all began when numerous females in the music industry revealed their experiences of sexual assault brought on by a music publicist named Heathcliff Berru. Women from all aspects of the industry took to social media to give their own accounts of horrifying cases where they were mistreated by the same individual. These brave women are the reason we are touching on this subject that has opened up the much needed discussion about sexism in the music industry.
Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino was one of the original women who shared her story of how she was sexually assaulted. She later would pen an essay further outlining the deeper issue at large.
When I saw these tweets, I knew I had to speak up, because Heathcliff has sexually harassed me too. I had never shared my story publicly because I was afraid of the backlash that I might receive or that I would come across like some kind of wrathful bitch. After I read Amber’s tweets, I decided it was time to tweet in support of her. I wasn’t just one of his victims — I knew plenty of other women who had their own “Heathcliff stories.”
After I supported Amber, the floodgates opened. Women started writing how they had felt personally victimized by his actions. By the following morning, Heathcliff had stepped down as CEO of his PR company, which has since become defunct. As much as it pains me to see these stories from so many women, stories that go back as far as ten years and are as recent as only a few months ago, I am so glad that this situation was finally brought to light and that these victims now have a supportive bond and can provide strength to others who may want to come forward.
She went on to explain:
People need to stop calling women “bitches” because they’re strong and empowered. People need to stop calling me a “slut” for my public support of Planned Parenthood, an organization that has saved my life as well as many other men’s and women’s lives. People need to stop calling me a “whiny baby” because I write songs about heartache and my feelings. Did anyone call The Beatles “whiny babies” for singing the lyrics “This boy wants you back again”? Did anyone call them “desperate” or “needy” for singing “Oh please say to me / You’ll let me be your man / And please say to me / You’ll let me hold your hand”?
You can read the full essay from Cosentino here.