The music world has been rocked by claims of bullying and abusive conduct towards women by powerful men at some of Britain’s top record labels.
Several women, including female artists and staff working in the multi-million-pound industry, have come forward with allegations of harrowing abuse by top executives.
One well-respected senior female figure in the business even suggested last week that inappropriate behaviour by men in senior positions in the music business was ‘endemic’.
Insiders close to one of the UK’s most influential music figures say crisis talks have already taken place to discuss how to handle the impact of a potential ‘MeToo’ scandal erupting within the industry.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Rebecca Ferguson (above), who found fame on the X Factor in 2010, went to the Metropolitan Police earlier this month to report allegations of harassment and coercive control against a senior male industry figure
We can also reveal that Lily Allen (pictured) will use her forthcoming album to turn the tables on those she says have abused her. The title of each track will be the first name of a man within the music industry who she claims mistreated her
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Rebecca Ferguson, who found fame on the X Factor in 2010, went to the Metropolitan Police earlier this month to report allegations of harassment and coercive control against a senior male industry figure.
Ms Ferguson, 34, claims she was targeted while working to build her career after coming runner-up on the ITV show.
The singer, who has agreed the MoS can reveal the complaint she made to police, has also met Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss problems within the industry.
We can also reveal that Lily Allen will use her forthcoming album to turn the tables on those she says have abused her. The title of each track will be the first name of a man within the music industry who she claims mistreated her.
Friends say that the move by Ms Allen, 36, who wrote about an alleged sexual assault by an industry figure during a work trip to the Caribbean in 2016, is a way of dealing with her trauma and is designed to send a message to the men about their behaviour.
Meanwhile, multiple sources have cited an incident involving a married executive who is alleged to have aggressively approached and molested a junior member of his staff at a party after the Brit Awards ceremony in 2015, forcing her to flee in tears.
A senior female executive also claims that she was sacked after years of being bullied, undermined and manipulated by her powerful line manager, who then made her sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing her from speaking out.
Following scandals within the TV and film industries, the music industry is now braced for its MeToo reckoning.
‘This is a ticking timebomb,’ said a source. ‘The things that have been going on for years are quite unbelievable. It is all showbiz glamour to the general public but the way that powerful men are treating women is abhorrent, and that is not an understatement.
‘There are men who are very afraid of this coming out. It really is only a matter of time now.’
The claims come three years after the MeToo and Time’s Up movements exposed abuses in America, with film producer Harvey Weinstein revealed as a sexual predator and rapist.
Yet the abuse continues with non-disclosure agreements often used to silence women.
The claims come three years after the MeToo and Time’s Up movements exposed abuses in America, with film producer Harvey Weinstein (above) revealed as a sexual predator and rapist
One insider said: ‘This is very, very scary stuff. Someone I know talks about a very violent male rapist who is in the industry and working around women. Some of the stories are absolutely shocking.’
In the 2015 Brit Awards incident, witnesses were left feeling ‘extremely uncomfortable’ as they watched a man employed by one of the world’s most successful record labels ‘get far too close’ to a junior member of staff.
She was distressed but fearful of losing her job.
Another allegation centred on a Christmas party thrown by a well-known music company where the female victim of an abusive incident went home in tears.
Another senior industry figure is said to have become so concerned by the behaviour of one of his employees that he had to intervene on behalf of women who were being bullied and harassed by him at work.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme last month, Naimi Pohl, Assistant General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, was asked why the industry was yet to have its MeToo moment.
‘I think we’ve only scratched the surface to be honest,’ she said. ‘We’ve had about a hundred reports to our Safe Space service at the Musicians’ Union. Reports have ranged from sexism to sexual assault.’