DJ Mag October 2020 (UK) - digital

DJ Mag October 2020 (UK) - digital

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It’s another strong edition of DJ Mag the team has put together here, but this time I’m just going to point you towards the contents page and use this space to talk about Erick Morillo.

It was frankly nauseating to read a parade of high-profile male DJs eulogising Morillo on social media while minimising his serious sexual misdemeanours — saying things like “he had his demons”, “a troubled soul”, “he fucked up” and “wasn’t perfect”. It’s obviously sad to lose a charismatic friend who’s inspired you in some way, but the coded language here — effectively reducing rape to a minor offence in comparison to a glittering DJ career — is deeply worrying, and possibly inadvertently silencing past and future victims.

Such testimonies, whether written at the height of immediate grief or not (with some subsequently deleted), can only lead to the perception of some all-lads-together ‘brotherhood’ in which men are allowed to get away with certain inappropriate sexual behaviours; ignoring, turning a blind eye to — or worse, knowing and not speaking up about, or even participating in — actions that degrade and humiliate women, which in some instances lead to harassment, abuse, sexual assault and rape.

Since his arrest at the start of August, it’s emerged on social media that lots of women in our scene consistently warned each other about Morillo’s predatory behaviour. Yet he repeatedly got away with it — for years. It’s clearly wrong that there’s a serious schism in our industry where abusers can prosper, and where women aren’t believed or find it near- impossible to report assaults committed by abusive powerful men. Rape conviction figures tell their own story.

With his death, friends and family have lost someone they loved, while at least one woman who Morillo allegedly raped or assaulted has lost any chance for justice in a court of law, where an offender would have had to face up to his crimes. Where a sense of entitlement, and thinking he was untouchable, would’ve come face to face with the harsh reality of a looming prison sentence. If there’s one bit of good that comes out of this sordid state of affairs, it’s to act as a catalyst for change. We need to wake up to how common sexual assault is. DJ Mag stands in solidarity with all victims of sexual assault in the scene.

On page 16, under the Morillo news story, we list a helpline for anyone affected by these issues.