Scandal is rocking the Swedish music industry. Nearly 2,000 women in the industry have signed an open letter condemning the sexual abuse that they have faced from men in the industry. The letter is signed by women working in positions all across the industry like composers, musicians, record label employees and more, but some of the more prominent figures include Tove Lo, Zara Larsson, Robyn, Johanna and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit and Nina Persson of the Cardigans.
In the music industry we work 24/7, often with insecure contracts and temporary employment. Being accommodating and not making a fuss is important in order to not be replaced. This makes women in the music industries targets of power demonstrations, often with a sexual nature. In our existence laws on consent are far away, we are objectified and sexual assault and harassment are more rule than exception,” they write in Dagens Nyheter.
“But we will no longer be silent. We demand zero tolerance for sexual exploitation or violence. Sexual assault or violence will have consequences in terms of terminations of contracts.”
The letter includes stories from various members of the industry including one of a woman who was 17 at the time. She tells a harrowing story where she says the owner of a record company she was working at after making various advances at her, “pushed me down in a sofa, and made me get on all fours, then he pulled my trousers down and had anal intercourse with me.”
Other stories tell about men making lurid and misogynist comments to women.
“We will put shame back where it belongs - with the perpetrators and the people protecting them.
We all speak with one voice and we will not comment the content of this article further. No means no – respect that!
We know who you are,” the letter ends. Take them down ladies.
Several music industry executives have responded to the letter with some boilerplate responses to the accusations.
“We promise to make every possible effort to correct the imbalances that are at the root of this problem and, at the same time, we must sadly admit that we have not been nearly quick enough to act upon the glaringly obvious structural problems which are their cause,” says Sony Music Entertainment Sweden managing director Mark Dennis in a statement via Music Business Worldwide.
Warner Music’s President in the Nordics, Jonas Siljemark, told MBW, “It’s taken true bravery to step forward and speak up about these terrible problems.
“We must work together to create the changes that will help rid our industry of harassment and discrimination.”