Swedish music stars call for an end to sexual harassment

The Local Sweden
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Swedish music stars call for an end to sexual harassment
Robyn, First Aid Kit, and Zara Larsson. Photos: Maja Suslin Jonas Ekströmer, Janerik Henriksson/TT

Almost 2,000 women in the Swedish music industry have signed a petition condemning sexual harassment in the industry.


Zara Larsson, Robyn, First Aid Kit, and Icona Pop were among the 1,993 women who put their names to the statement, published in Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter on Friday.

The appeal began in a closed Facebook group, which had over 3,000 women as members, many of whom shared their own experiences of harassment and assault they had experienced in connection with their work.

One of the women told DN: "We realized, inspired by earlier appeals, that we had to address the power structures that are abused in our industry. So we asked the women in the Facebook group to share what they had experienced, and received hundreds of testimonies from all parts of the music industry."

One woman wrote: "When you're raped by a great male musician, you lose a lot of friends. 'It was wrong, what he did. But he's a link to the music industry so I don't want to cut any ties. I hope you can understand and respect that.' One example of what friends told me when I said what had happened."

Another recalled being told during a job interview, when she was aged 23: "If you like to suck cock, you can start working here."

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Among the names attached to the appeal are singers, musicians, songwriters, DJs, managers, technicians, producers, PR officers, creative managers, and more. You can see the full list of names here.

The writers of the appeal said the incidents described were "things that go on every day", and that women working in the industry had been forced to develop coping strategies, including women-only spaces.

"In the music industry, we work around the clock, often in precarious and temporary employment. To be courteous and not make a fuss is especially important not to be replaced. This makes the women in the music industry to the targets of demonstrations of power, often of a sexual nature," they continued. "Harassment is the rule rather than the exception [...] a silence of culture reigns."

The women are calling on those in positions of power within the music industry to tackle sexual harassment and assault at work, and called for zero tolerance of such incidents.

"We will put the shame where it belongs – with the perpetrator and those who protect him," they wrote.

Hundred of allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced in Sweden in recent weeks as in many other countries, in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign sparked by rape and assault claims relating to Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

As well as in the music industry, reports of abuse have rocked the worlds of lawsports, politics, theatre, and media industries in Sweden, a country frequently labelled one of the most gender-equal in the world.

READ ALSO: Is Sweden really the best place in the world for women?


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