Female Composer Sexual Harassment and Assault Lawsuit Investigation
Recently, female composers have been publicly calling for an end to sexist practices and pervasive sexual harassment within the music industry. Gibbs Law Group is investigating reports of female composers facing harassment, discrimination, or predatory behavior.
If you experienced inappropriate conduct at the hands of a composer, producer, record label executive, or other industry professional, we are here to listen and help.
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#MeToo: Female composers allege harassment and discrimination in “an industry that has a culture that's for men and by men”
In a December 10, 2021 article, The Hollywood Reporter details the experiences of various female composers who describe harmful misconduct ranging from discriminatory comments to blatant sexual harassment. The article contends that while the #MeToo movement swept the nation and uncovered horrific instances of sexual harassment and abuse across industries, female composers for film, TV and other media were left behind.
According to Hollywood Reporter, several female composers said some “high-profile” male composers have committed sexual harassment and assault multiple times, but the women weren’t comfortable going on the record, citing fears of damage to their careers. “Nobody feels comfortable coming out,” a female music executive explains to Hollywood Reporter, “because it’s career-destroying.”
One woman in the article described an instance of a male composer reaching out unsolicited with an offer to mentor her, despite being only two years her senior. He later followed up with a shirtless picture, according to Hollywood Reporter. In other situations, she reports facing demeaning comments from fellow composers about how her looks make her better suited for roles like acting rather than composing: “You’re so exotic looking…you’d be perfect as a love interest or a prostitute,” she recounted to Hollywood Reporter. Another woman reported a peer making her fold his pants for him, saying simply, “You’re a woman.”
Female composers have attributed the issue of harassment and discrimination as the result of a variety of factors, including “the lack of a union for composers in the U.S., reliance on a largely uncredited freelance workforce, and a historically male-dominated music industry.” One of the composers interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter explains how without a union or any kind of Human Resources department, there is no official body for promoting equity and addressing issues within the industry. As most composers do freelance work, job opportunities depend a lot on individual composers’ ability to build relationships. And the field of composing is still extremely male-dominated: USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reports that across all composers for the top-grossing movies between 2007 and 2019, only 1.7% were women.
Female Composers Taking Action towards Equity
According to the Hollywood Reporter, some women have come together to protest the treatment of female composers in the industry. In fall 2020, composer Nomi Abadi founded the Female Composer Safety League. The group, described by Abadi as “survivor-centered”, now has more than 200 members who network, share advice, and participate in weekly online meetings. The group has recently been campaigning for more urgency in response to female composers’ cases by the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
Additionally, the Alliance for Women Film Composers (AWFC) was founded in 2014 by Laura Karpman, Miriam Cutler, Lolita Ritmanis and Chandler Poling. The organization’s mission is to raise visibility and create opportunity for female composers, and now has over 550 active members.
Our promise to sexual abuse survivors everywhere
Gibbs Law Group’s award-winning sexual assault attorneys represent survivors across the country. Our team is committed to empowering sexual assault survivors to regain control, achieve justice and begin to heal. We recently obtained a $73 million settlement on behalf of former patients of UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps, who was accused of sexual abuse and misconduct.
- We believe you can heal. The journey may look different for everyone. But know this: what happened to you wasn’t your fault, and you aren’t alone.
- We believe in your power. Sexual assault can be personal and traumatic, and we honor the courage and strength it takes to share your story. If you have questions, feel ready to pursue a legal claim, or just need someone to talk to about your experience, you can confide in our team of experienced professionals.
- You’re in control. As your advocates, we’re dedicated to helping you gain your power back. You can choose to work with female or male attorneys and staff. Whether you prefer phone calls, videoconferencing or texting, we can communicate in a way that’s comfortable for you. You are in control and you decide what you want to do.
- We’re with you, every step of the way. We’ll keep you updated on your case—in non-lawyer terms. We will explain the legal process and next steps in a clear way you can understand. Our client-centered approach is rooted in a sincere focus on our clients’ wellbeing and intended to empower clients’ pursuit of justice.
- Our results are unmatched. Our award-winning lawyers take on some of the biggest, most powerful entities across the country—and win. We have the resources, experience and skill to fight for you and other survivors of sexual assault. Our attorneys have received numerous honors for their work, including “Top Women Lawyers in California,” “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California,” “Consumer Protection MVP,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and “Class Action Practice Group of the Year.”