Amber Coffman Speaks With ‘Hack’ About The Aftermath Of Calling Out Sexual Predators In The Music Industry

Last week, Amber Coffman (from Dirty Projectors) took to Twitter to retell a story of a run-in with a sexual predator she later named as Heathcliff Beru. Beru was the founder of prominent music publicity and management firm Life Or Death, which boasted a roster of acts like D’AngeloDIIVKelelaOdd FutureKiller Mike and more.

What happened afterwards was a case of swift justice served to Beru, as seven women had come forward about being sexually abused in one way or another by Beru. By the end of the next day, Beru had resigned by his firm, and by the end of the week, the firm ceased to exist as acts continued to drop them and his now ex-employees continued to leave. However, as promising as this all seems, Coffman has detailed a different reality in an interview with triple J‘s Hack.

“I know there’s a whole gang of men in the music industry who have totally turned their backs on a lot of these women,” Coffman said this afternoon when asked what the aftermath of the aftermath was. “Total shutdown, total blackout. Not a single word. No responses to emails,” she went onto say before revealing that even more are too scared to speak out still for fear of losing “their job, scared to be ostracised and shut out.”

Even Beru’s statement that was issued quickly after the initial tweets was not good enough, just as Coffman pointed out. Addressed to “those who I have offended by my actions”, he went onto play the victim by saying he has “already lost my wife, abandoned my family, and destroyed those I love as a result of my shameful, embarrassing unacceptable behaviour.” Coffman labelled the apology a “complete cop out.”

“He victimised himself. he didn’t take any real responsibility for any of his actions, and he downplayed them,” she said before going onto say the simple yet profound line, “Addiction doesn’t create an abuser.”

It is a harsh reality that these women are now facing, and a cruel turn of events for doing something so very brave. As Hack also pointed out, it now raises the question about whether this series of events will have any change in the industry at all, given that this is the initial response. Although some artists have spoken out in solidarity with the women who have come forward, like Killer Mike for example, it seems there is also a majority who would prefer to block them out than help them – and it is those people that can help these women in their careers.

Sure, men like Killer Mike voicing their disdain for such behaviour is obviously really important, his solidarity won’t exactly get these artists’ gigs or tours booked, nor will it get them interviews and media coverage when they release their new single. The people who can help them with this are the ones who have blocked them out and it’s this that is scaring others from coming forward about what happened to them too. What does it say to the women who are being abused and mistreated in the industry? That they should just get over it because if they call it out, they’ll potentially ruin THEIR careers, not that of their perpetrator? That their voices don’t matter, and what happens to them doesn’t matter? That we should continue to disregard and excuse this behaviour because it will help us get ahead if we ignore it?

It’s deplorable that these questions are even being raised, let alone the veracity they hold. Sexual abuse in any way shouldn’t even be happening, let alone excused, and it is up to us to make those who fall victims to such acts feel safe enough to speak up. It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not these artists have actually been “blocked out”, but it will be interesting to see the futures of their careers following this. I would hope that this wouldn’t have an effect on their careers, and that they would in fact be applauded for coming to terms with what happened to them and being brave enough to call it out – but it now does not seem that is the case. Here’s hoping that some good really does come from this.