In the Wake of Harvey Weinstein, What Will Happen in the Music Industry?

The Harvey Weinstein scandal is looking more and more like some kind of tipping point. Even though everybody seemed to know that Harvey had been preying on women for years, no one dared speak up. Now that dozens and dozens of women have come forward, others feel they can now speak up about what happened to them. There have to be a lot of very, very nervous people in Hollywood.

And it’s not just the movie biz. What about the music industry? Like with movies, reprehensible behaviour of all sorts has not only been tolerated but even encouraged. Where will the #MeToo movement lead? Let’s go to the LA Times.

Last month, before stories of Harvey Weinstein’s long history of alleged sexual misconduct triggered an unprecedented outpouring in Hollywood, the disgraced movie mogul responded to accusations against him by invoking the words of Jay-Z.

“‘I’m not the man I thought I was and I better be that man for my children,’” Weinstein quoted the rapper as saying in his song “4:44,” in which Jay-Z alludes to cheating. Weinstein added, “The same is true for me.”

With its flippant tone and its defensive reference to the 1960s and ’70s — “when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different” — Weinstein’s written statement displayed a stunning misapprehension of alleged behavior that now has been described by more than 50 women. (The statement also got Jay-Z’s lyrics completely wrong, clumsily paraphrasing a few lines from “4:44.”)

But it’s not hard to understand why Weinstein looked to a musician in his bid for absolution. For decades, singers, rappers and guitar players have weathered accusations of misconduct — from infidelity to far, far worse — with little or sometimes no discernible damage to their careers.

And an operating credo of “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” probably hasn’t helped.

It certainly hasn’t. 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.

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