An Open Letter to the Professional Audio, Touring and Live Event Industry
(inspired by the women of animation and thousands upon thousands of women standing up worldwide)
We, the women and gender non-conforming people of the professional audio, touring and live events industry, would like to address the pervasive problem of sexism and sexual harassment in our vocation. Our industry must start to address these widespread issues and create a blueprint for change. It is time to listen to our voices.
Long before recent scandals, women and other marginalized groups in our industry have been discussing the issues of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. From sexist jokes, inappropriate touching, and threats of being blacklisted to actual criminal assault, we are extremely aware of the pervasiveness of the problems. There is an extensive list of men in power using and abusing it against women, which are only current symptoms of a long history of systemic sexism and misogyny. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-et-accused-20171017-htmlstory.html
Our industry has always been male-dominated. it is currently believed that women make up only 5% of sound engineers. This low percentage does not reflect the women working in audio and the touring and live events industry that are not considered sound engineers.
Our industry claims to embrace diversity, yet in the trenches, women and other marginalized groups still must navigate a minefield each day at work from what women are told are harmless:
Being told to smile
to hostile and aggressive workplaces, where they experience:
Touching and grabbing
Continually being asked out on dates
Being threatened or cornered
We are often told "If you can't take it, then you should not work in the industry," "You must have a thick skin," "Learn to fit in with the boys," and famously "It's just locker room talk."
It is unlawful to harass any person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment
And while we acknowledge this problem also affects men, the majority of harassment is directed at women. Harassment rates are also higher for women of color, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups. https://www.knowyourix.org/issues/statistics/
It is long past the time for the abuse to stop.
The signatories of this letter demand that the industry take sexual harassment seriously. We ask that:
Every workplace in the professional audio and touring communities put in place clear and enforceable sexual harassment policies and standards.
Every workplace in the professional audio and touring communities institute a safe way to report harassment.
The leadership in each workspace enforces these policies.
Our male co-workers must speak up and stand up for us. When co-workers make sexist remarks, or when they see sexual harassment happening, we expect them to say something.
Everyone stops making excuses for bad behavior for co-workers, and tell them what they are doing is wrong.
It is time to seriously listen to our voices and take immediate steps to truly make our industry diverse and a safe place to work.