New study exposes the alarming extent of sexual harassment within the Australian music industry
12.05.2021

New study exposes the alarming extent of sexual harassment within the Australian music industry

Words by Eli Duxson

Dr. Jeffery Crabtree's thesis was initially released yesterday.

A new report on workplace harassment in Australian and New Zealand music industries has found that 65 per cent of women surveyed experienced pressure to have sex, and 85 per cent experienced other forms of sexual harassment.

Content warning: this story contains mentions of sexual harassment and abuse.

Author Dr Jeffrey Crabtree said research found that “workplace bullying and sexual harassment are widespread, and are perpetrated by patrons, peers and power figures”. 

“The most common forms of workplace harassment include withholding information, being ignored, unmanageable workload, humiliation and sexual harassment,” the research found.

33 interviews and 145 online respondents made up the research which included a variety of roles within the music industry from off-stage to on-stage.

The highest victim prevalence, however, came from performers.

Dr Crabtree outlines product for harassment behaviour which include “a power imbalance that favours the perpetrator, and a system that allows this behaviour to go unpunished, if not to be rewarded”.

“The contemporary music industry is marked by systemic sexism and systemic economic disparity,” he said. 

“Both of these phenomena in turn create imbalances of power and lack of accountability as well as a climate of objectification and discrimination where men are the beneficiaries”.

Dr Crabtree is calling for the “formation of an effective professional association for top and middle tier artists, similar to the Featured Artist Coalition in the UK”.

He is also calling for the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) to expand its membership to all other musicians and production and technical crew to offset power imbalances and show advocacy in the live performance sector.

Dr Crabtree hopes to expand the sample size in future research, while also researching intimate partner violence in the music industry.

Read the report in its entirety here.