Almost thirty Dutch singers have called in an open letter that there should be more opportunities for artists to report sexually transgressive behavior and that men in the music industry receive training on this subject. The letter is an initiative of singers Linde Schöne, Laura Jansen and Aafke Romeijn and was signed by Claudia de Breij, Glennis Grace and Hadewych Minis, among others.
The singers come up with the call in response to the BOOS revelations about The Voice of Holland. Former musical director of the program Jeroen Rietbergen, coach Ali B and a director are accused of sexually transgressive behaviour.
‘Hand on your buttock’
The singers emphasize that sexually transgressive behavior regularly occurs in the music industry. “Almost every one of us has one or more stories to tell. About the producer who suddenly pulled out his dick, or the manager fifteen years older who entered into a relationship with you when you were eighteen. The fellow artist who put his hand on your buttocks.” The radio producer who made inappropriate comments. Or the talent show coach who suddenly came after you.”
What exactly is going on at The Voice? Watch it in the video:
In the letter they speak about the pressure that starting artists are under and how this is being abused. “Singer, that’s one of those professions that you dream of as a little girl (…) Not ten for you, but a thousand others and you feel that when you first enter the music industry. The Voice is, a studio session with an established name, or with a record company: your first big chance immediately feels like your only big chance.”
Fear of image damage
The women give three reasons why Hofman’s broadcast was necessary to address sexually transgressive behaviour. First, some women don’t dare to talk because they don’t want to relive the pain. “To have to bring those traumas back up at a later moment is super intense.”
There is also the fear of reputational damage, they say. “If a singer once publicly talks about sexual violence that happened to her, she will be asked about it again during every subsequent interview. And before you know it you are ‘that singer who was once abused’, or worse, ‘that singer’. sour feminist”.
There is also the fear that the victims will not be believed. “What the BOOS documentary did was expose a version of reality that most men cannot see and that until now they could easily ignore,” they write. “We understand that that is shocking. We were also in shock when we first experienced this. Unfortunately, there was no screen and no documentary maker with us.”
The cultural and creative sector already has its own reporting point for abuses: Mores. However, the singers want a more extensive reporting point, they say in the letter. Co-initiator of the letter Romeijn calls Mores “a very nice initiative, but until now they have only been financed by the creative funds (including the Performing Arts Fund, ed.) and we would like it to be independent and that there is enough funding available to ensure that people can come here 24/7.”
In addition to an improved reporting center for the industry, the singers also want independent confidants to come to, among other things, the record labels and that beginning artists are informed about the possibilities where they can sound the alarm. They also believe that men within the industry should be given training about sexually transgressive behaviour.
“Probably this won’t solve the problem yet, but at least it’s a start. Something to ensure that the girl who is currently singing with her brush in front of the mirror doesn’t have to go through the same shit that we do .”