ENTERTAINMENT

'The Preatures' Frontwoman Reveals Gross Sexual Harassment In New York

Isabella Manfredi was groped by executives and invited to bathe with the head of a music label.

18/10/2017 3:57 PM AEDT | Updated 18/10/2017 9:30 PM AEDT
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Isabella Manfredi also spoke of a 'touchy feely' booking agent.

Isabella Manfredi, the frontwoman of Sydney band The Preatures, has shared her experiences of sexual harassment in the music industry including being groped by executives and invited to bathe with the head of a music label in New York.

The Sydney singer-songwriter felt compelled to share her experiences after the allegations of sexual assault made by many women in the film industry about Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"My heart has been breaking for all the women who have had to deal with Harvey Weinstein's total degradation of their talent, drive and worth as artists and human beings over the course of his career," Manfredi posted on her Instagram page.

"Of course this sickness is not confined to the film industry. Perhaps the greatest clarity this unfolding story has given me is some perspective on my own experiences in the myusic (sic) industry, mostly in, but not confined to, America."

1/2 My heart has been breaking for all the women who have had to deal with Harvey Weinstein's total degradation of their talent, drive and worth as artists and human beings over the course of his career. Of course this sickness is not confined to the film industry. Perhaps the greatest clarity this unfolding story has given me is some perspective on my own experiences in the myusic industry, mostly in, but not confined to, America. There was the touchy feely US booking agent whose behaviour became so inappropriate that the boys told our manager to keep him away from me (I felt embarrassed to do this myself). Or the head honcho who, when meeting the band, looked me up and down and licked his lips before turning to the guys to shake hands and talk 'business' (we were all stunned). Or the multiple executives at a corporate gig in Vegas who slipped their hands up my dress while taking a photo with the band. Or the New York Indie label head I had met through mutual friends in Australia who, after telling me he loved my band and songwriting, invited me to what I thought was a friendly business dinner with some publishing friends of his (He knew I had a boyfriend), and to see a new signing of his afterward. He introduced me to people and talked me up, telling everyone who I was and what I did. I felt accepted, excited; I was meeting artists I respected. I felt respected. Later, in a cab on our way to the next venue with another friend of his, he suggested we go back to my hotel and have a bath together. When I refused, politely and then firmly, he said my band was a joke. The gig we'd played at Rough Trade was mediocre. He snickered to his friend. He said other things I can't remember. What I do remember was the dreadful, sickening realisation that I was a fucking fool. #metoo

A post shared by Isabella Manfredi (@isabellamanfredi) on

2/2 What do these experiences do to women? Well, they tell you, not only have you suddenly become part of the clichéd female experience you were raised to believe no longer exists, you ARE the cliché. You are the woman getting your arse groped by a guy in a suit, too shocked to do anything about it, you are the woman holding an artist pass with tits on it, you are the woman whose violent ex-boyfriend is stalking you across your American tour, you are the woman doing the dishes in the studio, you are the woman nagging the guys to 'help' you, you are the woman being shushed in rehearsal, and you are the woman making yourself smaller and smaller so you don't unsettle or disappoint the men you work with, rely on, and care so much about. I've never spoken about this because I thought the only way beyond it was to keep my head down, work hard and become a respected and powerful woman in my own right. Like Jia Tolentino says in The New Yorker "This makes for a false but often convincing narrative—you are prey only when you are not good enough, and so you must not have been good enough if you were prey." I have worked hard to become untouchable. But in doing so I've also limited myself and kept a permissive silence on things that matter to me. This IS only the tip of the iceberg and I know there's more to share here. I don't want the next generation of women coming up in the music industry to face this kind of morally ambiguous, second-guess-yourself crap. It's not on. On this album cycle I've been asked, does sexism in the music industry still exist, and what does it look like? I think it's time to compile our experiences and give it a face. If you want to share your stories with me, send me an email: isabellametoo@gmail.com #metoo 💔

A post shared by Isabella Manfredi (@isabellamanfredi) on

Manfredi says the head of a New York indie label praised the band and their songwriting, invited Manfredi to a business dinner and despite knowing she had a boyfriend, made an inappropriate suggestion.

"Later, in a cab on our way to the next venue with another friend of his, he suggested we go back to my hotel and have a bath together.

"When I refused, politely and then firmly, he said my band was a joke. The gig we'd played at Rough Trade was mediocre. He snickered to his friend," she wrote.

The musician also detailed other experiences she suffered, including a "touchy feely" US booking agent who had to be reprimanded by the men in her band for his inappropriate behaviour towards her.

She also recounts how during a corporate gig in Las Vegas she was groped by several executives who put their hands up her dress while posing for a photo with the band.

Manfredi said she shared the stories to try and stop the behaviour being accepted in the entertainment industry.

"I don't want the next generation of women coming up in the music industry to face this kind of morally ambiguous, second-guess-yourself crap. It's not on," she wrote.

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