Journalist Annabel Ross talks to Attack Magazine’s Harold Heath about misogyny and sexual predators in dance music.
Journalist Annabel Ross writes for Resident Advisor, Mixmag, The Guardian, Billboard Dance, NME, GQ, Beatport and many more. She describes herself as “a freelance journalist mainly writing about music, culture, lifestyle and just recently I’ve been focusing on sexual assault in dance music”. In particular, Annabel has written about the Erick Morillo case and the music industry’s reaction to his death. It’s a subject that we take extremely seriously at Attack Magazine, so we chatted with Annabel over Zoom about the issues raised by the Morillo case.
Attack Magazine: So tell us about your work over the last twelve months.
Annabel Ross: It’s actually only been the past five months which feels insane to me because it feels like it’s been an eternity in some ways – but yeah obviously it started with Erick Morillo and the opinion piece that prompted the investigation and it kind of snowballed from there, and I was just receiving more and more emails and with each story or even with every phone call I would just realise how deep and wide the problem was.
So was this just calls about Morillo or about other people?
Both. Morillo is very deep and wide on his own, but then across the industry and just the amount of predators that exist, and the different ways in which they’ve been enabled and how we’ve sort of turned a blind eye for such a long time.
So it was like your piece kind of opened the floodgates?
Yeah without intending to, or without realising that that would happen, but it made me realise that there really is a need for it and it’s something that hasn’t happened before, it’s this huge issue that’s been under the rug for such a long time and like you say, it’s like the floodgates have opened and now it’s all coming out.
So why do you think that this issue has remained ‘under the rug’ for so long?
Money mainly. I think DJs who are successful are making people money, people don’t want to do anything that interferes with that so they keep quiet. Money and power – they’re the main reasons.
And someone used the term ‘toxic male solidarity’, this kind of brotherhood, not ‘dobbing in’ your brothers, not saying anything, ‘bros before ho s’ and I think that has a lot to do with it also.
Was there much kick back from the industry once you started writing on this subject?
Yes, but not much, not too much. I mean there’s been the odd troll or hater or Morillo or May supporter who will say some abusive trolly stuff but by and large no. I’m sure a lot of people are saying things behind closed doors, not to my face but you also can’t really get away with it anymore and I think that’s the thing that people are realising: that with this kind of work and actually talking about this stuff, there’s nowhere really to hide anymore. So people have to be careful with what they say and how they act: which is a good thing.