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Sony Music’s Australia Company In #MeToo Spotlight Following Bullying, Harassment Claims: Report

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The #MeToo movement rumbles on in Australia’s music industry, where the domestic affiliate of Sony Music is reportedly under the microscope following claims of bullying and harassment.

According to a report published over the weekend in The Sydney Morning Herald, Sony Music’s HQ in the United States is investigating instances of inappropriate behavior at its company in Sydney.

An unnamed source close to the investigation insists Sony Music’s global head of human resources has been in touch with at least four former and current staff at Sony Music Australia after an employee made a complaint, notes SMH journalist Nathanael Cooper.

One unidentified woman claims she was groped by a senior manager at a concert, and the same employee was the subject of inappropriate remarks prior to her performance review, which was reported to the official channels.

“We were at a casual work event where everyone was drinking except me. I remember (the senior manager) slurring his speech when he told me he would be doing my performance review the next day,” she told the SMH. “He leaned in and looked down my top and said ‘if your review was based on your physique you’d get top marks’.”

The SMH report also discloses several alleged instances in which pregnant women and new mothers are said to have been made redundant, only for their roles to be re-named and then filled by another candidate, and cases of harassment by staff higher up the chain.

A spokesperson for Sony Music Entertainment in New York had no comment on the published article.

All told, a dozen current and former Sony Music staffers are said to have contacted the newspaper and its sister Nine Entertainment Co. titles to “reveal their experiences” working with the major music company, the report explains.

These experiences are said to be unrelated to Tony Glover, the Sony Music Australia stalwart who was dismissed in April following a months-long independent probe into allegations misconduct. Glover, who joined the company in 1991 and most recently served as vice president of commercial music, denied the accusations.

The bombshell claims come as a #MeToo-inspired movement creates waves in the Australasian music industry.

Earlier this year, Warner Music dismissed Scott Maclachlan, the former senior vice president for A&R at the label’s Australasia office — who is best known for discovering singer-songwriter Lorde — following sexual harassment allegations involving a co-worker.

And Paul McKessar, the award-winning former manager of Benee and The Naked and Famous, was let go by his employer CRS Music after his years-long harmful behavior was exposed, also by the NZ news site Stuff.

Separately, an Instagram page titled Beneath The Glass Ceiling launched last November as a forum for discussing sexual harassment and assault in the Australian music industry. Soon after, a New Zealand account went live.

When Beneath The Glass Ceiling NZ drew attention to an unidentified industry professional who owns a Silver Scroll, APRA AMCOS responded. The rights society, organizer of the annual Silver Scrolls awards, which recognize excellence in songwriter, issued a statement affirming its commitment "to tackling this behavior in our community," and invited anyone affected to come forward and consider connecting with Help Auckland, a charity that helps free New Zealanders from sexual abuse.

On May 24, a group of Australian music industry professionals came together in Sydney for an initial conversation on how to trigger cultural change, with an immediate focus on sexual harm, harassment and systemic discrimination. Through that initial meeting, a temporary working group of volunteers was formed to drive a wider consultation process, including reps from Sony Music, BMG, the Australian Festivals Association and more.