Annie Mac says there’s a ‘Tidal Wave’ of unreported sexual abuse cases in the music industry
Annie Mac engaged in discussions with MPs who are presently conducting an inquiry focused on sexual abuse within the music industry.
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, testifying before a select committee of the House of Commons, has unveiled a troubling reality within the music industry. She described it as a “boys’ club” rigged against women and expressed her belief that numerous sexual abuse cases have yet to come to light.
Speaking at an inquiry into misogyny in the music industry, chaired by the Women and Equalities Committee, Annie Mac highlighted the reluctance of women to share their experiences due to fears for their careers. She asserted that there should be a significant shift in the industry to encourage women to speak out without jeopardizing their professional lives. She added, “I feel like there are a lot of revelations that have not been exposed… It’s infuriating, the amount of women who have stories of sexual assault that just kind of buried them and carried them. It’s just unbelievable.”
The DJ went on to suggest that if a prominent figure were to come forward and share their experience, it could lead to a wave of revelations. Annie Mac said she personally had not encountered or witnessed sexual misconduct during her career but emphasized that her 19 years of working at the BBC provided her with a “shield of protection” when addressing these issues. She underlined a common thread in the stories she had heard, noting that young women in the music industry were frequently underestimated and undermined, while freelance women often found themselves in unsafe situations. Annie Mac shared an example of an unnamed artist who was sexually assaulted in the street by a record label boss after repeatedly rejecting his advances.
Singer Rebecca Ferguson also provided testimony, echoing Annie Mac’s concerns about misogyny in music. She described an environment where bullying, corruption, and power abuse were rampant behind the scenes, leading to a culture of fear among women. Ferguson, a former X Factor contestant, expressed her greatest concern about unreported rapes in the industry, emphasizing that “there are plenty of times when you’re placed in situations where you are being compromised and where people are abusing their level of power.” She said, “The thing that worries me the most is the rapes that are going unreported. That’s what concerns me the most – the fact that women feel like they can’t speak up.”