Two days after the New York Times Directed their report on Ryan Adams and his alleged history of sexual misconduct, emotional abuse and attempts to use his power to silence and manipulate women, the singer-songwriter -interpreted from any country, Lydia Loveless was sitting in bed, angry. So she sent a tweet: "It's not really surprising that a label that has allowed a man to fumble, skate and mentally disturb me for over five years still boasts Ryan Adams of fucking genius," he said. she writes.
The next day, Loveless used her Instagram to clarify her feelings, claiming that she had endured years of sexual harassment and "occasional predation" from Mark Panick, a local partner of Nan Warshaw, co-chair of her long-running label. date, Bloodshot Records. Although Panick had never been employed by the label, he was a pervasive force at Loveless: he performed at festivals, professional events and concerts where much of the alleged abuse had taken place.
"In one case, he approached me at Bloodshot's 20th birthday party and, while putting his hand between my buttocks, told me that he loved my messy hairstyle. because it reminded her of how the girls' hair in high school would take care of their blow, "Loveless wrote, in an example of what she said she endured in the years that have gone by. since his first meeting with Panick at South by Southwest.
Bloodshot finally became aware of the allegations and co-owner Rob Miller banned Panick from participating in the company's events – while Warshaw, according to Loveless, responded by blaming the victim. "She could not help if people were going to Mark," Loveless recalls, as Warshaw told him. Although Miller, earlier this week, written in a statement In the name of Bloodshot that he was supporting Loveless if she wanted his story to be made public, Loveless has not chosen to do it so far. Rolling stone in an exclusive interview. (Read the statements of Warshaw and Miller here.) Her reasons for waiting are many, including the fact that a woman's sexual assault claims are often as traumatic as the first instances themselves. Plus, as women are often told it's like that, in an industry built around informal social events, drink and the myth of the eccentric genius of the male rock star.
Although Loveless "wants to express well that I have no desire to hurt the label themselves and that I love them all and that I think they are good people," his story is an example of more than the way the music industry turns blind eye on abuse and harassment, has virtually no protection system in place for artists abused. (A bill was proposed in Tennessee to help accomplish this last year, but was shot in the Senate.) For Loveless and other women like her, the trouble of sharing their stories is worth the pain of being experienced in an attempt to bring about systemic change..
"I have the impression that there is more room than ever to say that this crap is wrong," Loveless said. "And I got the impression that maybe if it's not the moment, it will never be the moment."
We talked to the artist, whose contract with Bloodshot has expired after his last album, 2016 Real, about his decision to come forward.
You have been thinking about telling your story for a long time. What does it finally look like in the open?
I often imagined doing it, and it was very different from what I thought. I've had several conversations with people from the label, my current boyfriend and my ex-husband, and this has been incredibly different from what I thought. I really did not expect so much attention and I do not know why I thought it would not matter. What I really want to accomplish is that I do not want other women to feel compelled to go to work every day and feel that they have to deal with these kinds of things. I do not want anyone to feel that way anymore. I know it will not change the way the world works. But I had other women who came forward and shared their stories, and I released a heavy burden for myself and I hope to help other women. to do the same thing.
Did you have the impression of receiving the support you expect from the label when she learned of the existence of this misconduct and alleged abuse?
I started talking to Rob about a while ago. He saw it; he saw Mark touching me inappropriately and he said, "If I ever see that again, I'll be livid." I remember being happy that someone finally saw that it was not me who did these things. After that, he started trying to figure out what to do and how to fix it without making things as they are now, which is public and upsetting and awful for everyone. Because [Panick] was still around me and it lasted a few more years. I would have liked no one to be hurt except Mark.
How long has this behavior started?
At once. I met Mark in the same way that I met Nan: we were at [music festival] SXSW. Nan and Mark took us for a drink. I was 19 years old and I really wanted my dreams to come true. I played since the age of 13 years old. I had met Mark before meeting Rob, and I had the impression that he was rather a face of what was coming. He put me bad at ease; he put everyone in my group uncomfortable. We were all trying to do our job. But I had so much trouble living that I had the impression that things were going on as usual.
When Nan told you that Mark could not do anything about it if the women jump at him and make you doubt your own choices, did that make you mad?
I wish he had been enraged. I was so deflated by myself and by other people who told Nan about it. That's what made me think, "Wow, if people come to you and say that and you blame me, then it should not be that bad, or maybe it does not matter." week was a revelation. I can not believe I had to go through there. It almost seems like it happened to a totally different person.
Have you ever felt that you can talk about it publicly, as the Bloodshot statement says, and be really supported?
I think what is nil is that everyone says they were waiting for me to make a statement. But once I made this statement, I no longer feel like nobody is very happy with me. I feel supported, but I also have the impression of living on the moon right now. I feel completely alone.
It can be argued that it is extremely important that these stories be heard – both for the women who endured them, to know that they are not alone and for men who often do not understand or understand them. refuse to accept the dangerous climate that exists in the music industry. But, little by little, these stories shake this protective wall.
I think our society is so based on the fact that women are silent, so that the wheels turn. And I do not think I realized how much it touched me until I finally said something. My skin has cleared up – I've had a lot of trouble – but I can see changes in myself since I've talked about it. It's something I've discussed privately with a lot of people, but [coming forward] I've relieved so much.
"There is no protection for musicians. There is nothing in place for women to go to their jobs. "
So many times that abuse or harassment begins, women do not even register it as such, because they are conditioned to endure a climate that allows these behaviors to remain uncontrollable. The music industry is full of environments (festivals, conferences, radio tours, backstage) where rules and regulations are set out to keep things "fun" and "casual".
Yes, and you're still wondering, "Was it so bad? Will someone worry about it? If I say that, am I going to look like a jerk? Do I look like someone who was not strong enough? So many people will say, "Why did not you learn to hit someone in the balls?" Why have not you just been funny about this? But I've always used humor to handle everything. I would like to laugh at it. Laughing does not mean you accept it.
Women are encouraged not to spoil the party. Be "one of the guys".
It's just presented as something we have to deal with. There is no protection for the musicians. There is nothing in place for women to go to their jobs. You just have to float in the sea of what, in any other career, would be absolutely annihilated. It's not fair that musicians, especially women, should say, "Oh, it's just something I have to endure every day when I go to work."
When something like this happens, we often like to convey the idea that it is an aberration: it does not happen in small scenes or in indie music, because there is a sense of "mutual vigilance". But that could not be further from the truth. Sometimes it's worse, because the smaller scenes are insular and protective of these "dirty secrets".
I think it might even be harder for freelance artists because we feel we have fewer voices. I think we could shut up even more because we feel we are getting the best of what we can get. There are so many men running scared, especially in the freelance community. But I do not think that they should be "dirty secrets". That should not be "Oh, it's a shit, but it's just his sense of humor!" Or "Oh, that's a shit, but we do not want make things happen. This shows how scared men are now, because they have never experienced the real fear that women have had to endure all their lives.
Hopefully, some people are now reporting on these assumptions and rethinking their behaviors, but there seems to be an unhealthy interest in the "paths of redemption" for the abusers, or to seek excuses for those who have left them so long.
Yes, and I do not think people realize that women are experiencing trauma. Everyone says, "Oh, you're so powerful, you're brave." Well, I'm so upset. I do not feel good. I feel re-traumatized again and again, and that's what so many women are facing. I'm glad we were talking about it, but it's like tearing an injury that women have covered with fucking glue because we're supposed to be fucking heroes, while men might just stop becoming whores. shit … I do not do it. I do not want these men to feel powerful anymore. I want to feel powerful.
What can we do to restore this balance of power and ensure that the industry begins to change as a result of these stories?
I think good people already know what to do and bad ones can not be changed. But what good people can do, is to stop accepting that. Violence should not be part of the job. If you touch someone inappropriately, you are an abuser. We have to start looking at each other and we can start by pointing out inappropriate things. I believe in redemption, but we want to talk about redemption even before anyone admits to acting inappropriately or apologizes.
On the very day of the publication of Ryan Adams' story, there came stories that were exactly asking: what will be his path to redemption?
Yes, "How will he continue?" Well, how are we going to continue? We do not need to worry about the well-being of the attackers. For most of them, there is no other repercussion than to manage a few days of Twitter. They do not go to jail.
What do you hope that happens next?
I hope I start talking about music again. And I hope women will feel like they do not have to endure hards, not just hearing that your song is not very good. I hope that they feel that there is an even and equal playing field. I do not want women to feel in danger. And I do not want women in danger to feel like they can keep running.