Lilly Allen’s Alleged Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse in the Music Industry
By: Mackenzie Dineen
Lily Allen’s upcoming memoir “My Thoughts, Exactly,” unveils information in about her alleged sexual assault in November 2015, according to an interview with The Guardian. The assault is recorded amongst stories including the grief she felt after losing her infant son, and joining the mile-high club with a married man, as well as the many struggles of balancing fame and family life.
After a devastating divorce from ex-husband Sam Cooper, Allen met with a “Record Industry Executive,” under the guise that he would help her “get clean.” Allen intended to expose her abuser’s name but was advised against doing so by her publisher’s lawyer. The Record Industry Executive got Allen drunk on tequila, and she awoke the next morning without any recollection of how she arrived home.
The two met once more on business, Allen was intoxicated and the Executive offered his hotel bed for her to retire to. She awoke around 5 in the morning and felt a naked body pressed against her. “I was naked, too. I could feel someone trying to put their penis inside my vagina and slapping my arse as if I were a stripper in a club,” she said to The Guardian. She fled the room, and signed an affidavit with her lawyer in London about what happened.
Allen was also quoted, saying that the music industry is “rife with sexual abuse.” The Guardian’s article compares the freedom that actresses have enjoyed recently, in a world where they are not bound to confining deals. Many have been desensitized by Ke$ha’s case with SONY, and the laundry-list of accused sexual abusers in the music industry like R Kelly, Nelly, and Twiggy; all of whom are artists whose fame has softened the consequences of their actions. “Record Label Executives” who abuse female musicians are more protected from exposure, and many young female artists aren’t able to report the rape and abuse they suffer, lest they risk losing their career.
Does the industry’s “studio-system” of record labels work for the artists that drive their business, or do they enable power-hungry managers and executives to take advantage of those whose careers are in their hands? In BBC’s 2017 investigative piece “Rape and abuse: The music industry’s dark side exposed,” female artists spoke out about their experiences.
Chloe Howell, singer-songwriter was exploited by co-workers. Howell said, “I know that there are men who are getting away with it. They are given this untouchable power.” Michelle de Vries reported that while she worked for a major music company she was forced to stay with an older colleague who repeatedly assaulted her.
Why is it that the music industry has taken few measures to care for the safety of their artists? Furthermore, why haven’t journalist sources done their job as the media “watch-dogs?” Why wasn’t Ke$ha’s case a call to action for musicians, music fans, and music journalists to upheave the organizations harming musicians? These are some of the questions we have at Band Over Fist.