Lydia Loveless on Her Decision to Speak Out About Sexual Harassment: ‘If Now Isn’t the Time, It Will Never Be’
Singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless recently went public with allegations that the domestic partner of Nan Warshaw, co-owner of Loveless' record label, Bloodshot Records, had subjected her to years of "casual predation." Loveless says that while her choice to speak out was supported, it has not been without consequences, both good and bad.
"Everyone says they were waiting for me to make a statement. But once I made the statement, I don’t feel like anyone is very happy with me," Loveless tells Rolling Stone. "I feel supported, but I also feel like I am living on the moon right now. I feel completely alone."
The artist says that Bloodshot Records co-owner Rob Miller, who witnessed some of Panick's alleged misdeeds and told Loveless to alert him if it happened again, was supportive of her. However, he also tried to "fix it without making things the way they are now, which is public and upsetting and horrible for everyone."
"I think our society is so based around women staying quiet, to keep the wheels turning," Loveless admits. "And I don’t think I realized how much of it was affecting me until I finally said something."
In Loveless' view, women -- in the music industry in particular -- are forced to accept abusive behavior as part of the lifestyle: "It’s just presented as something we have to deal with," she says.
"There is no protection for musicians. There is nothing in place for women to go to their jobs," Loveless continues. "You just have to float along in the sea of what, in any other career, would be absolutely stomped out of existence."
While exposing instances of sexual harassment and abuse is often viewed as an empowering step, Loveless points out that it's also traumatizing. She and other women who have come forward are forced to relive the abuse that they endured on a very public platform.
"I don’t feel good. I feel re-traumatized again and again, and that’s what so many women are facing," she admits. "I’m glad that we are talking about it, but it’s like ripping open a wound."
Loveless also says that the expectation for women to be heroic in overcoming abuse is a poor substitute for expecting men to behave appropriately. "I think good people already know what to do and bad people can’t be changed. But what good people can do is stop accepting this," she says. "I don’t want women to feel in danger. And I don’t want women in danger to feel like it is okay to be in danger anymore."
After Loveless shared her own account of Panick's mistreatment on Sunday (Feb. 17), both Miller and Warshaw released their own statements about the matter. Warshaw has stepped away from Bloodshot Records as a result.
"To know that I did not see her discomfort as it was happening is something that I will forever regret," Miller writes. "I have also learned a great deal about the larger problem and how I fit into it in the process. I can assure everyone, it will not happen again."
Loveless, an Ohio native, signed with Bloodshot Records before releasing her sophomore album, 2011's Indestructible Machine. Her last project was 2017's Boy Crazy and Single(s), and, in 2016, she was the subject of a documentary, Who Is Lydia Loveless?, from Gorman Bechard.
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