Thousands Of Women Sign Open Letter Decrying Sexual Assault In Swedish Music Industry

Nearly 3000 women — including Robyn, Tove Lo, and Zara Larsson — have signed an open letter decrying widespread sexual abuse and harassment issues.

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Hollywood, British politics and the world of sports are far from the only places rife with sexual allegations.

A new open letter, signed by nearly 3000 women, details alleged sexual abuse in Sweden's music industry.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published multiple anonymous stories written by musicians, artists, and record company employees who have reportedly suffered sexual abuse and harassment while working in the industry. Robyn, Tove Lo, Zara Larsson, and the Cardigans' Nina Persson are among the high profile artists who've signed the letter.

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'These stories describe a few occasions over many years,' the co-authored letter notes. 'They are an extract of hundreds of testimonies, all of them from what we call the music industry. They describe things that happen every day.'

One time for the pink

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The letter was the result of a closed Facebook group with around 3,000 women members and initiated by women in the Swedish music business. When first published, it featured 1,993 signatures and includes nine stories, submitted anonymously, without naming the perpetrators involved.

It calls out the overwhelming inequality in the industry, describing how a 'culture of silence' has prevailed all these years and includes accounts of sexual harassment, as well as rape and sexual assault.

Much like in the Harvey Weinstein allegations, many of the stories are from very young girls who were just starting out in the career:

I was 23 years old, working at a music studio in London. I missed Sweden and wanted to try to get a job in a famous studio. The day I called one of Sweden's leading artists was recording at the studio. Immediately they started making jokes and they put me on speaker phone. I politely tried to tell them about my work, and that I was looking for a job. Suddenly the artist shouts "Do you like sucking cock?" The producer laughs in the background. "If you like sucking cock we have work for you."

Many include sexual assault:

Where should I begin? My boss pushed my face close to his groin when I spoke out about being paid half the amount that the man who I trained to be my boss. The manager of a famous artist tried to rape me when nobody was looking.

While, sadly, lots of stories detail rape:

I was 17 and was doing an internship at a record company. It started the first week, when the owner, a grown man, commented on my looks in front of everyone in the office, saying I was beautiful and sexy, and saying that he wanted to ask me out on a date. Then it continued time after time, as my friend "was forced" to run errands. He sent her away in order to be alone with me, and shut me in an office with him, telling me he wanted to sleep with me there and then on the floor, asking me if we should do it. He also pressed me up against a wall and kissed me, continuing to give comments on my looks and so on. In the end he said that we had to come to his home and work from there. After that he tricked my friend into leaving, so we were alone. He pushed me down in a sofa, and made me get on all fours, then he pulled my trousers down and had anal intercourse with me (for how long I don't know, as I fainted). I woke up when his doorbell rang.

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Either way, as the letter says, these stories 'describe things that happen every day' and women have simply 'been forced to develop strategies in order to protect ourselves.'

The signees demand 'zero tolerance against sexual exploitation and violence. Sexual abuse or violence should have consequences [such as termination of employment].'

The country's leading three music labels — Sony Music Entertainment Sweden, Universal Music Group Sweden, and Warner Music — have all expressed support for the letter.

Check out the full list here.

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