A report by the Women and Equalities Committee has warned that the music industry remains a male-dominated space where sexual harassment and abuse are prevalent. The report suggests that musicians are often forced to interact with sexual abusers at social events due to a pervasive culture of silence. The committee has made several recommendations to address misogyny in the industry, but also emphasized the need for a change in male behavior. The government responded by stating that the industry must ensure a safe working environment.
The report follows an investigation into misogyny in the music industry that began in June 2022. The cross-party group of MPs concluded that the problem was widespread and required urgent action. Evidence was presented by individuals such as former BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Macmanus, who claimed that numerous untold stories of sexual assault in the music industry were yet to surface. She also warned that the industry was biased against women.
Rebecca Ferguson, a singer and former X Factor contestant, testified that misogyny was just one aspect of a larger problem, which also included bullying and corruption. She claimed that incidents of rape were being overlooked. The committee noted that sexual harassment and abuse often go unreported, with victims facing disbelief or career damage if they come forward.
The report also highlighted that female artists are frequently undervalued and undermined, face undue focus on their physical appearance, and must work harder for recognition. It also mentioned the widespread use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and the culture of silence they perpetuate.
The report offered several recommendations, including amendments to the Equality Act to extend discrimination protections to freelance workers, improved protections for those facing intersectional inequality, and legislation to hold employers accountable for protecting workers from third-party sexual harassment. It also recommended banning NDAs in cases involving sexual abuse, harassment, or bullying.
The committee welcomed the establishment of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority but cautioned that it alone could not solve all the industry’s problems. Caroline Nokes, the committee chair, emphasized the need for a shift in male behavior in the music industry to allow women to be heard and recognized on equal terms.
The government stated that it would consider the committee’s recommendations and stressed the industry’s responsibility to create a supportive and safe working environment free from misogyny and discrimination.