Musician’s Union In The UK Demands Zero Tolerance Policy Towards Sexual Misconduct

As reports of sexual harassment and abuse remain frequent within the music business, the UK-based Musician’s Union (MU) is calling on the government and the industry at large to implement a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.

The global #MeToo movement gave new light to sexual misconduct, an issue that has been plaguing society for far too long, and there was particular attention placed on the entertainment industry.

Prominent figures like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, and Charlie Rose are just a few well-known names to be ousted from high-level positions in light of reports of inappropriate behavior including sexual assault or misconduct.

Dance music also saw many members of the scene including several high-profile artists like Bassnectar, Datsik, and Space Jesus ousted due to similar reports.

Under the banner of #ThisIsNotWorking, MU cites a poll they disseminated among the industry which yielded the following results:

  • 48% of musicians have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work
  • 58% had witnessed an incident of sexual harassment whilst at work
  • 10% had witnessed incidents of sexual harassment on a regular basis

Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musician’s Union, says:

“It’s unacceptable that so many artists, musicians, employees, and freelancers have suffered abuse at work and that many have left the industry as a result. With more women stepping forward to share their experiences, it’s vital the industry adopts a zero-tolerance approach to ensure everyone in the creative arts is protected as they return to work.

“We’re pleased to see the Government is recognising the seriousness of this issue after having recently convened a series of important creative industries-wide meetings to ensure positive action is implemented. Now we ask for action: we need the Government to strengthen the law to prevent sexual harassment at work before it happens.

“Together, with survivors, and other trade bodies like UK Music who are committed to ensuring change happens, we want to create a movement to ensure the music industry is a safe place to work for everyone.”

Back in July, the UK government made a series of commitments to tackle the growing issue of sexual misconduct in the industry. See a few key points below:

  • Introducing a mandatory duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment at work.
  • Introducing explicit protections for harassment by third parties.
  • Considering extending employment tribunal time limits from three to six months.
  • Working with EHRC to develop a statutory code of practice to help employers determine what steps they should take to prevent and respond to sexual harassment.

The newfound call from the MU asks that the government act to implement these commitments in addition to seeing where more improvements can be made. According the MU, “it’s not just high-profile artists who are put at risk by the culture of the music industry – victimisation and sexual abuse is also rife behind-the-scenes.”

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