Calling All Crows’ Statement on the Allegations Against Nahko
July 3, 2020
Our #HereForTheMusic campaign was born out of a music fan who shared that they had been sexually assaulted at a concert and wanted to be able to safely return to the scene. We took that call to action seriously, and when we couldn’t find resources available in the music industry to address sexual violence, we built out a campaign to do just that.
We stand with the women and girls who have shared their stories of Nahko’s harmful and unacceptable abuse of power, manipulation of women for sexual gain, and alleged sexual assaults. We have heard some people wonder what the issue is since they haven't heard an account of rape - and we want to be clear that drawing the line at rape and looking the other way for other violent behaviors is harmful and contributes to the normalization of sexual violence.
We strive to partner with festivals, artists, and venues who genuinely want to do the work to build safer event spaces within a world where sexual violence is pervasive. More than 1 in 2 trans people, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 3 women will experience sexual abuse or rape in their lifetime. We don’t shy away from working in spaces that have allowed harm in the past, because we believe that change is not only possible, but required. However, we are committed to leaving those partnerships when we learn that leadership is cultivating a culture of sexual violence, and that leadership refuses to step down.
To any survivors or allies who were upset by our partnership with Nahko, we are sorry. We met him when we launched this campaign on tour with Dispatch in the summer of 2018. At that time, we had not heard, or with some online searching found, any accounts of sexual misconduct or abuse by Nahko. On tour, we saw red flags, but did not witness or hear any accounts of violence. Over the next year, we heard a few rumblings of harm from 3+ years back and that he had been working to do better, but could find no first or second hand accounts of violence or claims of what “doing better” meant. We asked to have an outreach table for our #HereForTheMusic campaign at a few stops of his 2019 fall tour, and later that year after hearing more rumblings of harm and claims of child sexual abuse, we privately made the decision to not work with him again in the future.
We are grateful to the women and girls who have persistently spoken up over the past decade to deaf ears and active silencing by Facebook group moderators and others. We will and do quietly refuse to work with someone who has or potentially has caused harm, but we only speak out publicly with the explicit consent or call to action from those who were harmed. To speak out and create demands without the input or leadership of those harmed is another way to take someone’s power away and can put a survivor at risk for further harm from the abuser or new victim-blaming and -shaming harassers.
This week, we heard these women and girls speaking loudly, and we are taking the following steps:
Asking Nahko here and through private outreach to him and his team to acknowledge and respond meaningfully to these harrowing accounts.
Asking other artists, promoters, talent buyers and those in decision-making positions to not work with Nahko until he meets the forthcoming demands of survivors speaking out and organizing.
Reaching out to the organizers of Shangri~La and Project Earth to offer help in building safety into their future events.
Committing our organization to have explicit conversations with any potential new partners about their past, present, and future behaviors and what leadership is required to make actual culture change to prevent sexual violence.
It is important to be responsive when accounts of violence emerge, but it’s even better to proactively work to prevent people from committing sexual violence in the spaces you’re creating. This is a renewed open invitation to any artists, venues, festivals, and other music industry professionals to work with us to prevent sexual violence at your shows/festivals. If you are a music fan, we encourage you to follow our work and volunteer with us once live music is back.
Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 if you or a loved one needs help processing these traumas or your own past traumas that may be triggered by these accounts. You are not alone and you deserve compassionate support.