Four female British music industry figures told stories of serious sexual misconduct and assault by male executives in a segment on the BBC’s “Victoria Derbyshire” show Monday morning.
The show features accounts from two artists — Chloe Howl and an anonymous woman — manager Yasmin Lajoie and music supervisor Michelle De Vries. The male offenders were not named but all are said to be still working in the music industry. A video of the interviews is posted below; a thorough written account is available on Music Business Worldwide.
Lajoie, a former executive at Sony/ATV Music Publishing in London, says she was sexually abused as a 23-year-old by a management executive. She said the executive slept on her couch after an evening out and later climbed into her bed and molested her.
“I went to work and I very quietly told people, [but] I was encouraged to keep quiet on the matter, because it would hurt our chances of signing [an artist the man represented],” she said. “He actually got away with assault.”
De Vries’ situation took place when she was working outside of the U.K. Because her work permit had not come through, she was told to stay with an older colleague who continually propositioned her and made other unwanted advances, including walking nude into her room. “I was a young girl and I really didn’t know how to handle this sort of thing,” she says. She later discovered her work permit had been approved months before. The executive later exposed himself to De Vries and another female colleague and proposed a threesome; the two women resigned from the company.
“We went to a lawyer and were categorically told that [the exec] had committed a serious crime,” she said. “But the lawyer said, if you report this, you will never work in the music industry again.” She said the executive is still employed in the music business and has had other allegations leveled against him.
The anonymous singer-songwriter said she was mentored from the age of 15 by a talent manager who worked for a major company. Two years later he said he’d fallen in love with her and that “if I didn’t agree to be his girlfriend then he would ruin my career.” He later began controlling and sexually assaulting her. She says this executive is still working in the music industry. “From afar I check up on him to make sure he’s not managing any other young girls,” she said, “and at the moment he isn’t.”
Singer-songwriter Chloe Howl was also abused by a member of her industry team as a teenager. “[He was] “coming on to me in pretty strong way… he was a lot older than me and we were meant to be professionally working together,” she said. “As time went on he would encourage me into doing things I had never really done before like drugs, which I had no experience in whatsoever. When I was 18 I remember one night he grabbed my bum and said something along the lines of, ‘I feel like we’d have really good times in the sack.’”
The singer says she considers herself lucky that things did not get worse. “I know girls who’ve been raped, and it’s always a man in power and a girl on the rise who needs as much support as possible.”
Lajoie, who has been collecting stories from female colleagues in the industry, said “Sexual assault and abuse in the music industry is endemic. I don’t have a single peer in the music industry who’s never been sexually harassed or assaulted.”