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Benee’s Manager Stood Down Following Investigation Into Abusive Behavior

BENEE
Dave Simpson/Getty Images

BENEE performs on stage during the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Spark Arena on Nov. 14, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Paul McKessar, the award-winning former manager of Benee and The Naked and Famous, has been let go by his employer CRS Music after his years-long harmful behavior came to light.

Following the “recent disclosures”, reads a statement posted by CRS founder Campbell Smith, “I yesterday stood Paul down from his role at CRS.” His actions, the statement continues, “fell far short of the standards expected by CRS, our clients and the winder community. Paul has resigned as a director of CRS.”

McKessar is the second music industry professional in New Zealand to lose his job after he was implicated in the sexual abuse scandal, the result of an investigation by news title Stuff.

Based on interviews with Openside lead singer Possum Plows and singer-songwriter Lydia Cole, Stuff reported several incidents where McKessar abused his position.

Smith says he apologized to Plows and Cole and promised change at his company, starting with the removal of McKessar and the appointment of an independent specialist investigator to conduct a review of its workplace practises and culture.

“None of this should have happened,” reads Smith’s online post. “I am sorry that I did not ensure that we had a robust code of conduct in place at CRS that might have either prevented this or dealt with it seriously and safely.”

McKessar spent 15 years with CRS, culminating in a win for manager of the year at the 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards. McKessar has since returned the award to the Music Managers Forum.

The Stuff article also exposed the past behavior of Scott Maclachlan, who is best known for discovering and guiding the career of singer-songwriter Lorde.

Warner Music has dismissed Maclachlan from his role as senior vice president for A&R at the label’s Australasia office, after he admitted to years of harmful behavior and said he was in intensive psychotherapy.