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There Is a Problem with Sexual Assault in the Music Industry

A prominent publicist is accused of sexual misconduct, confirming something we already knew: The music industry has a big issue with attitudes towards women.
January 20, 2016, 5:15pm

Yesterday, a news story broke regarding a well-known PR company called Life or Death PR and its founder and CEO, Heathcliff Berru. The story, which you can read about in full at New York, centered on allegations of Berru’s sexual misconduct towards women in the music industry—including musicians, fellow publicists, and writers. Late afternoon, Berru resigned from his position, issuing a statement last night in the LA Weekly: he says he is “deeply sorry.”


It isn’t news that there is a problem with sexism in the music industry. Berru’s actions are deplorable, but what is more upsetting is how incredibly common they are, and this troubling fact about the element of the music world we cover is not new. Last summer, with a single tweet, well-known writer and critic Jessica Hopper kicked off a massive online discussion surrounding issues women in the music industry face on a daily basis. The responses were shocking—countless women came forward with stories of the horrid obstacles they face on a day-to-day basis. It’s facts like these, piled on top of yesterday’s news, that prove why it has to be a priority for all publications to provide voices to young women—whether they’re musicians, writers, publicists, interns, editors, or fans—and encourage them to speak out.

Here are a variety of ways we attempt to look at this problem, and how we can move forward and find solutions.

No More Secrets: Squashing Sexism in Music and Why This Is Just the Beginning
Longtime music journalist Lizzy Goodman explores a feeling of frustration and how social media and progressive thinking has given power to voices.

Women Are Using Social Media as a Megaphone to Confront Nightlife's Rape Problem
What happened when two women, who were sexually assaulted in two separate attacks in popular New York night spots, took to social media to speak out.

If We’re Going to End Music Industry Sexism, the Dialogue Around It Has to Change
Noisey staff writer Emma Garland takes a look at how the way we speak about women in the music industry reinforces the patriarch.


This Is My Reality as a Woman Music Journalist
Longtime LA-based rock and nightlife writer Lina Lecaro recounts the last two decades of the sexism she’s experienced by just doing her job.

We Asked a Room Full of Dope Women About How to Close the Gender Gap in Dance Music
At last year’s Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, we held a panel to discuss and find solutions to why there are so few women in dance music.

A Month-by-Month Breakdown of Music Industry Misogyny in 2015
Writer Annie Zaleski outlines how real music industry misogyny was in 2015, and poses the question as to why we continue to allow it to happen.

EDM Doesn’t Have a Women Problem, It Has a Straight White Guy Problem
Our deep dive into the gender gap in dance music and what role straight white dudes play.

What Do Hardcore, Ferguson, and the “Angry Black Woman” Trope All Have in Common?
Writer Kayla Phillips explores the intersection of race and gender, and how that plays into social reform and politics.

Of Course Crybaby Black Metal Fans Are Sending Death Threats to Myrkur
Noisey editor Kim Kelly writes about the frustrating experience metal artists often face from their communities.