Illustration by The Dally Beast
Illustration by The Dally Beast

Near Truths: Thoughts On A Perfect Storm

The “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” sensibility that once seemed to signal freedom and independence has sometimes turned into an atmosphere of license and even intimidation.

For too long, many women in our ranks have been subject to all manner of abuse. They haven’t been safe in their offices. They’ve been hit on, groped and straight-up assaulted. If they went through channels to complain, they were often either urged to laugh it off or made to fear recrimination and firing.

While this bad behaviour may be part of a “locker-room” culture that involved nonstop sexualization, it wasn’t just about sex. It was also about power and entitlement in a starkly male-dominated business.

Perpetrators of such abuse have been regularly insulated from consequences, though that is beginning to change. The Weinstein saga shows how a powerful predator can ruin lives for years without challenge—but also that he can eventually be toppled. Now, serious allegations have been levelled against Charlie Walk, and the response has been swift: He’s been placed on leave from Republic, pending an investigation, and has departed the FOX TV series The Four.

Conversation in the business is obsessively focused on this issue—who’s next? How does this change the way we interact with one another? What’s to prevent baseless charges from ruining lives? As these aren’t criminal proceedings, “due process” isn’t part of the equation—the potential for false accusation is real. This is especially concerning when anonymous charges fly in online forums.

But it’s also important to emphasize that going public with these allegations isn’t a picnic for the accuser. Invariably the comment threads fill up with the vilest, most misogynistic commentary. Going through all this is the inevitable result of coming forward, which is a difficult and uncomfortable choice on its own.

The Internet can be a horribly ugly place, but it’s sometimes the only instrument—however blunt—for redressing wrongs that have been shielded by a system rigged by and for the powerful.

Because in the overwhelming majority of cases, these claims aren’t made up—they’re part of a pattern. The music biz is guilty of enabling this pattern.

We don’t know for sure if #timesup, but a countdown is starting.

– Excerpted from an editorial that ran recently in Hits Daily Double

Leave a comment