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