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As a busy Grammys weekend kicks off with the MusiCares gala, women who say they are survivors of sexual abuse in the music world are calling for that industry to change its tune.
“How much does music care?” asked Melissa Schuman, a recording artist and actress who alleged in 2017 that Nick Carter raped her in the early 2000s. Carter has denied the allegation.
Schuman, a former singer with the girl group Dream, is one of four women and their legal teams who participated in a press conference in downtown Los Angeles on Friday afternoon before heading to tonight’s MusiCares Persons of the Year Gala at the L.A. Convention Center.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents multiple women with cases pending against music industry defendants, said record labels have participated in “systematic concealment” of abuses.
New laws passed in California and New York in 2022 have created a window for adult survivors of sexual assault to bring civil claims against their alleged attackers which otherwise would have passed their statutes of limitations, resulting in what attorneys say is a heavy influx of survivors with claims. “The time is now to speak your truth,” Anderson said.
Anderson called on MusiCares to rescind the honor the organization conferred upon Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler in 2020, citing a lawsuit alleging Tyler’s sexual assault of a minor in the 1970s.
Anderson also called on the industry to stop the practice of requiring non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual assault and harassment.
Zoey 101 actress Alexa Nikolas, jazz vocalist Sandra Booker and composer Nomi Abadi of the Female Composer Safety League also spoke at the emotional press conference, as did attorney Karen Barth Menzies.
“It’s time to turn down the music and listen to what countless survivors of this industry have had to say,” said Nikolas, founder of the organization Eat Predators, who has alleged sexual abuse by her ex-husband, Michael Milosh of the indie R&B band Rhye. Milosh has denied the claims.
Nikolas added, “The music industry is the Catholic Church on steroids.”
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