The music industry's dark side exposed

The music industry's dark side exposed
From BBC - December 17, 2017

Sexual abuse and harassment is "endemic" in the music industry, with "dangerous men" abusing their power, the Victoria Derbyshire programme has been told. Some victims are now speaking out for the first time.

"Amy" was 15 when she was groomed by her music manager from one of the UK's largest music companies.

"I'd been writing songs since I was very young, and somebody emailed me and said he wanted to help me and manage me," she explains.

The singer-songwriter - whose name we have changed - began working with the man and soon had chart success, before everything went wrong.

"He told me that he was in love with me, and that if I did not agree to be his girlfriend he would ruin my career.

"Over the next two years he continued to blackmail and threaten me to be in a relationship with him.

"He convinced me that I would be nothing without him and that if I told anyone, that success would go away."

The manager - who was still working in the industry - became more controlling as time went on, Amy says.

"He made a list of all the things I was and was not allowed to do.

"It had things like showing him more affection, talking to my friends and family less, and making sure he was the person I talked to most in my life."

Then, she says, he began to sexually assault her.

"I did not want to survive any more, because it was just a horrible life.

"I thought 'I am going to get a nine-to-five job and I will be banned from the music industry, but I'd rather be banished from doing what I love than spend any more time with this man'.

"Being a musician is all I ever wanted and it was finally happening. It should have been the best time of my life, but it was actually the worst".

'One of the lucky ones'

Singer-songwriter Chloe Howl felt exploited by a number of men at the beginning of her career.

She was signed to a record label aged 16, and later nominated for a Brit Award.

"I did have somebody come on to me in pretty strong way," she explains. "He was a lot older than me and we were meant to be professionally working together.

"He would drop me off at my hotel, and then text me to say, 'Why did not you invite me in?'

"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.'"

Yet despite this sexual harassment, she describes herself as being "one of the lucky ones".

'Sex slave'


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