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Billboard fires Pride director for allegedly sexually harassing queer artist

Billboard fires Pride director for allegedly sexually harassing queer artist

Music publication Billboard has reportedly fired its senior director of their Pride section following accusations of sexual harassment.

BuzzFeed News first reported the news of Patrick Crowley’s termination. They spoke to queer artist NEO 10Y, real name Nik Thakkar, who alleged Crowley sexually harassed him in several Instagram messages.

Thakkar told BuzzFeed he sent Crowley a message asking when Billboard would publish an interview he had given.

Instead of simply answering the inquiry, Crowley reportedly sent increasingly inappropriate messages in return.

A spokesperson for Billboard told BuzzFeed there was an investigation into the ‘very serious allegations’. Ultimately, the investigation ‘determined there had been violations of the company’s ethical and professional standards’.

‘As a result, we have terminated Patrick Crowley’s employment, effective immediately,’ the spokesperson concluded.

The inappropriate messages

Thakkar told BuzzFeed the conversation between him and Crowley on Instagram turned sour from the start.

‘This is completely disrespectful to me as an editor,’ Crowley allegedly wrote to Thakkar. He claimed not to know about the interview or a publication date and seemed annoyed.

Then Crowley suddenly turned the conversation on himself, writing to Thakkar that he knew ‘when an indie artist wants something from me bc [because] they start liking my photos and stuff’. He added it was affecting his well-being and sleep.

When Thakkar suggested listening to sound therapy as a sleep aid, Crowley reportedly wrote back: ‘Or porn.’

Crowley eventually asked Thakkar for nude photos, the singer told BuzzFeed.

‘Find me a decent looking guy to send me nudes and give me occasional compliments lol….Nudes as many as they want….They can be a photo or artist, honestly don’t care anymore…I’ll just put them on the cover of the magazine! Why not…what’s integrity,’ Crowley said in a message.

He also allegedly asked Thakkar for nude photos of himself.

Artist Nik Thakkar
Artist Nik Thakkar | Photo: Instagram @nikthakkar

‘Orchestrated manipulation’

Thakkar said he came forward partly because of the #MeToo movement, as well as for other artists of color.

Billboard eventually ran Thakkar’s interview but then someone informed him that his song had been removed from the November 2018 Billboard Pride Playlist.

‘It’s bullshit manipulation that is systemic in the music industry and it just needs to stop,’ Thakkar told BuzzFeed.

He also expressed his anger at Billboard.

‘I felt like there was an agenda that I wasn’t aware of. So when I’m getting 10 messages about nudes I try to push it away, but politely, within a mature and kind way of doing it that doesn’t fuck up my relationship with the biggest music publication in the world,’ he explained.

‘This is why I’ve been made to feel the victim because it’s a big publication.

‘I think it’s clear that he was trying to leverage his role as an editor at a massive magazine, at the most prestigious music publication in the world, to get himself off that night, to one of his artists, so he could sleep. It’s manipulation. It’s orchestrated.’

Thakkar said he didn’t regret coming forward with the story because he believes the culture needs to change.

GSN reached out to Billboard for additional comment.

Update 19 March, 3:24 pm PST: Billboard independently confirmed the report to GSN.

A spokesperson told GSN: ‘We confirm Patrick Crowley’s termination for conduct that violated Billboard’s ethical and professional standards.’

See also

WeHo mayor Duran steps down citing health issues amid #MeToo allegations

Gay journalist sexually harassed by ‘comedian’ live on television

Nearly 2 in 10 black LGBTI youth in the US have been forced into sexual acts