By Gregor Farquharson (@gregoratlantic)
The alternative scene has been in the spotlight recently, and perhaps not for the best of reasons. Sexism, as well as sexual abuse, is never okay so why are musical artists not being prosecuted for actions that have become public? Surely fans of these bands are realising what their so-called idols are doing is completely wrong, and shouldn’t be defending them?
Allegations have recently come to surface online about members of certain bands, and the ways in which they are treating women and younger girls. Most recently, accusations about Moose Blood’s (now ex) drummer Glenn Harvey and rumours in which he had been messaging an alleged underage girl, and sending her explicit images of himself to her. This was then backed up with messages of the girl’s boyfriend sending the drummer messages asking him to stop and apologise to his girlfriend. This then went semi-viral throughout the scene, leading many fans to leave an opinion on what they thought of the situation. Moose Blood further released a statement on the situation, saying they had removed said drummer, stating that they in no way tolerate disrespect of any kind, to both male and females. However, in the following hours after this was posted by the band, a petition started to appear online for the drummer to be back in the band, claiming he had committed no wrongdoing. Not only this but allegations towards frontman Eddy Brewerton came forward that the band seemingly have brushed off, refusing to acknowledge. This is where the issue begins.
The petition started to get many signatures, and it seemed it was mainly males signing it. This just shows the ignorance within the males of the scene and the lack of respect that is being shown towards females. The drummer had committed a crime and was rightly removed from his position from the band, yet people are still treating him as a hero? This is an ongoing problem within the scene, for example, Lloyd from Neck Deep, who back in 2015 was accused of serious allegations online, leading himself to leave the band and contact the police. It was announced shortly after that the police had said nothing had come off these allegations, and that Lloyds name was cleared. This leads to the argument that many in the scene seem to support that perhaps allegations may well be just allegations and that by spreading these rumours around the internet, people are ruining artists careers for them when they are genuinely innocent. However, this seems to leave out a bigger issue relating to the police’s incompetence when it comes to issues of sexual assault as well as the judiciary system who are much more likely to give perpetrators a slap on the wrist rather than give them any proper punishment. In addition to this, there are other allegations towards the band that most of the scene either ignore or brush off as just “lad behaviour”, such as the band sending unsolicited nudes.
Sexism and misogyny are also an ongoing problem throughout the scene. People have found it upon themselves to treat women in a way that is hard to comprehend, and it has got to the stage where enough is enough. Ben Barlow of Neck Deep was met with his share of controversy recently, following some very controversial tweets on International Women’s Day. His tweets basically stated that feminists “hate men” and then stated that he only agreed with “Real” feminism. This was met with a lot of backlash from feminists standing up for themselves, and Ben issued an apology. Yet, his apology seemed weak and pathetic and seemed to further condescend women and feminists alike, as he was claiming feminists shove their opinions in people’s faces, and are quick to correct other people as soon as they have done wrong.
This is not the only recent time an artist has been blatantly sexist, yet been quick to tell everyone what they have done is not wrong. During a recent Cabbage gig, the lead singer decided to stand on the barricade to get the fans prepared for the headline act, Kasabian. Now, this is usually a normal occurrence at many rock gigs, but what the frontman proceeded to do was unthinkable. Stories report that the frontman started to fondle himself while on the barricade, and started to rub his hands over a girl’s face. He then started to force the girls to face towards his crotch area, to which the girl was obviously displeased. The girl’s father then asked for the singer to come and issue an apology, to which the singer started a huge fuss and argument with the girl’s father. The band since issued an apology online, yet again this was met with hate and fans being disgruntled. The apology wasn’t really an apology, however, as they completely denied all the accusations made, yet hundreds of people witnessed it live. The band has yet to further comment on the situation, but it seems clear the odds are not in their favour.
A wider problem at the moment seems to be not only the actions of the aforementioned musicians but the way that many bands in the scene refuse to call them out on their shit. Take for instance Peace, a band well known for their intolerance of sexual assault at gigs who have just been announced for Neighborhood Festival alongside, you guessed it, Cabbage. Peace have promoted the festival yet have done nothing to get Cabbage off the line-up: all of this seems very much in line with the “mates club” that many critics use to describe the relationships between acts in the alt scene. Why is it that a band like PWR BTTM, who had their downfall over the space of a week despite their allegations being similar, were kicked off festival lineups yet Cabbage are yet to face any backlash for their actions?
The alt scene is one of the best, with some of the best fans and bands on the planet all combining to create a happy environment for people to enjoy great music. Yet, there are certain people in this scene who seem to be stuck in old times, where they believe assault and blatantly sexist behaviour is okay, and that they will get away with it. Something has to be done about this, and there are many organisations out there doing all they can to raise greater awareness about the issue, and get the proper message across. “Safe Gigs 4 Women” are just one of the many organisations that are tackling sexism and sexual assault at gigs hands on. They campaign for gigs to be a safe place for all and are doing nothing but good things to help the scene out in any way they can. The scene has to change, and together we need to stand up to sexism and sexual assault.
Slowly but surely, we’re making our way there but more needs to be done.