Annie Mac says the music industry has a “tidal wave” of sexual abuse cases

today14/09/2023 6

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Annie Mac has spoken with MPs about sexual abuse cases in the music industry claiming an “unbelievable” number of stories have not yet emerged.

The former BBC Radio 1 DJ – also known as Annie Macmanus – spoke to a House of Commons committee claiming that the music industry has a “tidal wave” of sexual abuse cases.

The committee is currently conducting an inquiry into misogyny in the industry with Mac as well as singer Rebecca Ferguson providing evidence to the case.

Speaking to MPs, Mac named the music business as “a boys’ club” which is “kind of rigged against women” according to NME.

“There needs to be some sort of a shift in women feeling like they’re able to speak out without their careers being compromised,” the BBC transcribed Mac saying.

Mac added that she had not experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct however said that her 19 years at the BBC gave her a “shield of protection” to talk about such issues.

In her evidence, Mac said she has spoken with “a real range of” female agents, managers, producers, photographers, artists and fellow DJs on the subject.

“There are common threads that run through everything I’ve heard,” she said. “That is that women, especially young women in the music industry, are consistently underestimated and undermined, and freelance women are consistently put in situations where they are unsafe.”

One example she shared was of an anonymous artist who was sexually assaulted by a record label boss.

Women had shared with her “a general sense of feeling unsafe” in the music industry as she added: “The music industry is a boys’ club. Everybody knows everyone in the top levels. All the people at the very top levels have the money. They also have the power. The system is kind of rigged against women.”

Rebecca Ferguson told the committee: “Misogyny in music is the tip of the iceberg of the things that are happening behind the scenes”.

She said “bullying and corruption is being allowed to happen”, adding that men in senior positions had asked security staff “to infiltrate and purposely ruin my romantic relationships”.

“I witnessed other performers being encouraged to engage in messages of a sexual nature with each other,” she added.

Ferguson added: “There are plenty of times when you’re placed in situations where you are being compromised and where people are abusing their level of power.

“But as well as that, the thing that worries me the most is the rapes that are going unreported. That’s what concerns me the most – the fact that women feel like they can’t speak up.

“One lady contacted me and said, ‘I’ve wanted to do this [speak out] my entire life. If I speak up against him, he’s so powerful, I will never work in this industry ever again’.”

AFEM sponsor a confidential support service for anyone affected by sexual harassment within the Electronic Music Industry
Health Assured provide the service to ensure confidential expert counselling
A safe and supportive environment for anyone who has been affected and needs guidance and support
Call 0800 030 5182, (Outside the UK: +44 800 030 5182) where trained experts will listen and support

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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