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Nearly 2000 women call out sexual harassment and abuse in the Swedish music industry

By | Published on Monday 20 November 2017

Swedish music industry sexism letter

Nearly 2000 women working across the Swedish music industry have put their name to a letter calling out overt sexism and sexual harassment in the country’s music sector, and demanding a change to the corporate culture that allows such behaviour.

The open letter follows the recent sexual abuse scandals that have rocked Hollywood in the wake of the allegations made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Those accusations have, of course, resulted in a much more frank conversation about sexism and sexual abuse in the wider entertainment industry, political community and far beyond.

A number of allegations have since been made against both artists and music industry execs in various countries, though the open letter in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter more overtly puts the spotlight on a wider misogynistic culture in the country’s music industry that allows incidents of sexism and sexual harassment to become common place.

The letter has come together via a closed Facebook group where over 3000 women working in all strands of the Swedish music industry shared their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse. Some of those experiences, including some incidents of sexual assault, have also been published in Dagens Nyheter, taking the conversation to the world at large.

Among the 1993 women who have put their name to the open letter are artists, songwriters, DJs, artist managers, booking agents, PRs, music students and execs working at record labels, music publishers and in the live sector. Artists Zara Larsson, Carola, First Aid Kit, Robyn and Seinabo Sey are among the signatories.

Those who set up the Facebook group say that the gender equality initiatives launched by the music industry to date are insufficient, and that wider cultural changes are required. Both to allow women to speak out about sexual harassment without any fear of damaging their careers by doing so, and to tackle the sexism and sexual abuse that occurs within the music business.

The bosses of all three majors in Sweden have already issued comments on the letter, summarised by MBW here. They have each commended the women who have come forward to share such harrowing stories and have insisted that they will now seek to address the ongoing cultural and structural issues that allow such unacceptable behaviour to go unchallenged. Similar commitments will be required across the industry of course, and it will be interesting to see what measures are now introduced.

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