Is the music industry about be shaken by its own #MeToo crises?

As bad as the #MeToo problems are in the movie and TV industry, they might pale in comparison to the abuses and atrocities that have occurred in the music industry over the decades. This, after all, is an industry that specializes in creating and selling sex, sexiness, partying, drugs and fantasies of all varieties.

The list of accused already includes Nelly, R. Kelly, mogul Russell Simmons and executive Charlie Walk. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Variety takes a look at how bad the situation really is.

How deeply ingrained is sexual harassment in the music industry? Ask any veteran and then plug your ears for the incredulous response. Three cases from more than a quarter-century ago, revealed in a blockbuster 1991 Los Angeles Times article by Laurie Becklund and Chuck Philips, show how endemic the culture is — and judging by such recent cases as these, how little has changed.

Marko Babineau was a high-flying promotion executive who helped make Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Whitesnake and Cher to 1980s radio goliaths; he was later elevated to GM of the Geffen offshoot DGC, home of Nirvana and Sonic Youth. However, on Sept. 4, 1991, days before the release of Nirvana’s galvanizing “Nevermind” album, Babineau resigned from the company after his 28-year-old assistant, Penny Muck, complained that he had “masturbated in front of [her] in her office despite [her] protests” and ejaculated “onto a magazine she was reading,” according to her attorney, Benjamin Schonbrun, and other Times sources. She subsequently filed a lawsuit, which was settled out of court for an estimated $500,000, the Times reported.

Sources said Babineau had begun sexually harassing female employees as early as 1984; Schonbrun told the paper that Geffen “had knowledge of the deviant behavior of one of its executives and did not take appropriate measures to ensure a safe and sexual harassment-free environment at Geffen for years.”

And it gets worse. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.