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The Music Industry Has A Problem With Sexual Assault. Here Are 11 Stories You Can Read About It

A prominent publicist is accused of sexual misconduct, confirming something we already knew: the music industry has a big issue with attitudes towards women.
Photo via Flickr.

UPDATE [August 7, 2015]: The remaining publicists employed by Life or Death announced Wednesday afternoon that they are leaving the company and will start a "new venture," according to a statement provided to The Fader.

In a series of tweets, Amber Coffman of the Dirty Projectors accused a prominent publicist of sexual misconduct on Monday. Shortly after Coffman opened up about her encounter with Heathcliff Berru, the CEO and founder of Life or Death PR, other women joined her in alleging similar incidents of sexual harassment by Berru.


Was just re-telling/re-remembering a story abt how a very popular music publicist RUBBED my ass and BIT my hair at a bar a couple years ago

— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman)January 19, 2016

It was Heathcliff Berru, at Life or Death PR and MGMT

— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman)January 19, 2016

Life or Death PR released a statement saying the company has "a zero tolerance policy for the type of conduct alleged in [the] on-line postings" and that Berru had resigned from the firm, which represents artists such as Odd Future and D'Angelo, in addition to electronic acts like Brodinski, Ryan Hemsworth (who tweeted his support of Berru's resignation in emoji), and Kelela (who has announced she will no longer be working with the company). Berru then released his own statement apologizing for his conduct, blaming his poor judgment on a drug and booze addiction that and he's going to check himself into rehab.

Coffman's story may have been the talk of the media community this week, but it didn't happen in a vacuum. The entire music industry has a big problem with incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Dance music is far from exempt; if anything it's even further behind in terms of attitudes towards women than other areas of the industry. The problem runs the full gamut of the industry, from internet trolls telling women to stop complaining about the gender gap in dance music, to dudes wearing Eat, Sleep, Rape, Repeat t-shirts at Coachella, through to women being raped in club toilet stalls.


Here are some important stories from THUMP and Noisey that you need to read today about sexism and assault in dance music:

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.

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.

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.

Venus X and Industry Women Speak Out Against Sexism in Dance Music

Discwoman, the female DJ collective and booking agency, held a panel at the Red Bull studios to talk about sexism in dance music.

Three Female Canadian DJs Discuss Gender Inequality In The Dance World

Ahead of this year's Igloofest in Montreal, THUMP spoke to three Canadian artists to hear about their experiences of being a woman in the dance music industry. Their answers are equal parts deeply sad and inspiring.

What We Talk About When We Talk About the "Lack of Women" in Dance Music

Discwoman opens up about male-dominated festival lineups and "hacking the system."

No More Secrets: Squashing Sexism in Music and Why This Is Just The Beginning

Noisey reflects on the stories of industry sexism unearthed by a Twitter thread started prominent writer and critic Jessica Hopper.

If We're Going to End Music Industry Sexism, The Dialogue Around It Has to Change

As a way of moving forward, Noisey proposes a change in the way we talk about sexism in the music industry.

This Is My Reality as a Woman Music Journalist

Writer and reporter Lina Lecaro details the dismaying realities of her life as a music journalist.

Stop Yelling at Women Musicians to Marry You, Dumbass

A reflection on one of live music's worst traditions.

A Month-By-Month Breakdown of Music Industry Misogyny in 2015

Noisey looks back at the music industry's troubling relationship with women over the last year.

Disclosure: THUMP works frequently with Life or Death PR, and some of our staffers count members of the firm as personal friends.