Hayley Williams opened up about the stories of sexual assault and abuse she’s been reading from friends and peers in the music industry lately in a lengthy tweet on Monday night (July 20) in which the Paramore singer and solo star sent her love and support to those who’ve suffered while revealing her own experience as a frontwoman in the emo scene.
“It makes my stomach hurt and my eyes turn red,” Williams said about unspecified stories of sexual and other forms of abuse at the hands of men in bands or in other parts of the music industry. “It’s so crazy to me how frontwomxn can be such powerful inspiration to so many young people, who see us as very much ‘in control’ of ourselves and our immediate surroundings when we’re up on a stage.”
Williams wrote that she knows that powerful feeling, which is very real for her, transcending “any notion of gender” and, for her, is more than the sum of her parts when she’s on stage. “But the truth is, all us ‘music people’ are first and foremost human beings,” she wrote, adding that female lead singers are vulnerable and feel shame just like any other young person.
While Williams did not specify which stories she’s been reading, her post came amid recent reports of alleged sexual abuse and misconduct leveled at musicians and record labels and it found her thinking out loud about the vulnerability of young male rock performers that can transform due to the ingrained toxicity in the scene. “They are most definitely vulnerable too and unfortunately — whether consciously or not — wrapped up in the toxicity of a culture that has existed long before most of us became a factor in it,” she wrote.
She was very clear, though, that the behavior is “inexcusable” and the only way to change it is to “call it out and cut it out.” For her part, Williams said she is grateful that she has “somehow come through my career mostly unscathed,” even as she acknowledged having her own tales of unnamed relationships that involved “improper power-imbalance, narcissism” and just what it was like to be a young woman in the early 2000s emo scene.
“I am a rare one to not have any actual horror stories,” she wrote. The note, she concluded, was merely her way of saying she’s proud of her peers who’ve opened up recently and shared stories they’ve kept to themselves out of “fear of shame or blame. I stand with them to help further our collective cause: to protect womxn and young folx in the music scene.”
See her post below.