UK government calling for evidence from women asked to sign NDAs to silence sexual assault...

Image of NDA, courtesy of Getty Images

The UK government has called for evidence from women in the music industry who have been asked to sign NDAs to silence sexual assault allegations.

The call is part of a wider inquiry to address misogyny in the music industry. The inquiry, which had a hearing this September, saw former BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac speak to the Women and Equalities Committee about the potential “tidal wave” of sexual abuse cases.

MPs are requesting evidence of the use of NDAs as examples are lacking, due to the legally binding nature of the contracts preventing individuals coming forward. You can submit your evidence here until November 30. Evidence will not be made public; “common themes” will instead help inform the Committee’s inquiry, final report, and recommendations.

Anyone part of an NDA submitting it as evidence will still be legally bound to the document. However, the submission of the NDA will be protected by parliamentary privilege. This means sharing details of an NDA with the Committee “cannot be used as evidence in legal proceedings, and therefore direct legal action cannot be taken against a person for sharing the information.”

Those seeking to submit evidence would also be protected as it would be “potential contempt” to “subject a person to detriment as a consequence of providing information to Parliament.”

The Committee is seeking written evidence on any or all of the following:

  • The prevalence of the use of NDAs to silence victims of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse in the music industry;
  • The motivations for creating and signing an NDA;
  • Circumstances of individual NDAs including the roles of those involved (including employment status);
  • Whether efforts were made to report inappropriate behaviour before an NDA was reached; and
  • Whether NDAs have been used in cases where behaviour might be criminal.

The inquiry into misogyny in the music industry opened in June 2022. The inquiry aims to explore “the sexism experienced by women within the industry”, “the representation of women within music and the effect of this on consumers” and “harassment at festivals and other live music events.”

In 2022, a foundation called Face The Music Now was established to support survivors of sexual abuse in the music industry. It was set up by author and talent manager Dorothy Carvello, who became the first female A&R scout for Atlantic Records: “As a survivor myself, I have seen and experienced firsthand how sexual harassment and abuse shatters survivors psychologically, financially, and professionally.

“We want to help survivors find their voices and take back some of what they have lost.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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