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Half of UK musicians have suffered sexual harassment at work
Photography Pien Muller, via Unsplash

Half of UK musicians have suffered sexual harassment in the industry

The majority of artists are reluctant to speak out in fear their allegations will be ignored

Nearly half of all UK musicians have suffered sexual harassment in the industry, according to new research.

A study conducted by The Musicians’ Union found that 48 per cent of 725 artists surveyed had been harassed while working, with 85 per cent of victims never speaking out due to fears their allegations will end with “few consequences for the perpetrator”.

Almost two thirds of musicians believed they were more vulnerable to harassment because they were freelance, with just one in five reporting that their contracts contained procedures to handle such treatment.

One anonymous artist said no action was taken when she reported abuse to a major industry employer. “I understand I was one of ten women making reports about the same individual,” she explained, “and yet no action was taken. I was told this was just ‘lad culture’ by the person investigating my complaint. No wonder such a high proportion of issues go unreported.”

The Musicians’ Union is now calling on the government to introduce tougher legislation to prevent abuse, particularly when it comes to freelancers. The organisation is also urging for a statutory code of practice.

Naomi Pohl, the group’s deputy general secretary, said in a statement: “We are aware of far too many cases of talented musicians, particularly young or emerging artists, leaving the industry altogether due to sexism, sexual harassment, or abuse.”

“Many musicians who have gone public with their story are now being taken to court for defamation – evidence of the situation we’re dealing with,” she continued.

The report comes just one month after Cardi B detailed her experience of sexual harassment in the industry, recalling one particular incident in an interview for We TV’s Untold Stories of Hip Hop. “The photographer was trying to get close to me, like ‘You want to get into this magazine?’,” she explained. “Then he pulled his dick out. I was so fucking mad.” The rapper went on to say that abuse in the industry “really happens everyday”.