Following the allegations of queer artist Nik Thakkar against Billboard Pride senior director Patrick Crowley, more artists have come forward with their own sexual harassment accusations. Crowley has denied all allegations.
BuzzFeed News first reported Thakkar’s accusations earlier this week.
He claimed Crowley sent him numerous inappropriate messages over Instagram, including ones asking him for nude photos. At the time, the two had been in conversations about an interview Billboard was running with Thakkar.
Following this report and an investigation, Billboard confirmed to GSN they terminated Crowley’s employment contract. They stated the decision was made regarding ‘conduct that violated Billboard’s ethical and professional standards’.
Since then, other artists have come forward with their own allegations of inappropriate messages.
Six artists – NEO 10Y, Alextbh, Michael Medrano, Kisos, Mosayac and Graveyardguy – as well as ‘many other private victims’ released a joint statement via the music PR and marketing agency Miller Place regarding this matter.
They called on Billboard to put forth a more conclusive statement on how they will ‘remedy the culture that allowed Crowley’s behavior, and on how Billboard will support the artists who publicly came forward and are now facing threats from the former director’.
The Harman Firm, LLP, who is representing Crowley, has served some of these artists cease and desist letters.
Several of Crowley’s accusers posted statements on Twitter, as well as screenshots of alleged online conversations between them and Crowley.
One artist, Mosayac, shared his conversation with Crowley.
‘I felt as though I had to chose between my morals and my career,’ he explained to GSN. ‘I never imagined I’d be in a situation where someone with so much power in the industry would put me in such a situation.’
He continued: ‘I was too scared to come forward out of fear of retaliation until I saw that I wasn’t alone. Then I felt empowered yet so sad to know others had endured such gross treatmen.’
On Thursday (21 March), Billboard Pride issued a statement, noting the additional allegations ‘regarding a recently dismissed member of the Billboard staff’.
‘We want to reiterate that the kind of behavior described is not only deplorable but also completely contrary to our ethical and professional standards,’ it continued.
They also asked those with more information or allegations to contact them.
The statement concluded: ‘Billboard expects all its journalists and employees to uphold the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior, and we will not tolerate anything less.’
Crowley hits back at accusations
Crowley yesterday (22 March) released a statement through his lawyers denying ‘any and all wrong doing’. Read the full statement below.
Mr. Crowley denies any and all wrong doing, including but not limited to, any allegations that he sexually harassed anyone, including the individual artists and representatives who have now jumped on the Twitter bandwagon of embellishment and/or outright false statements.
Mr. Crowley has worked tirelessly for many years promoting new gay artists, so much so that Billboard created a new and special position for him, focusing on the “Pride” market, a position that he thrived in.
Although quite talented professionally, Mr. Crowley is meek and quite shy socially. After engaging in some consensual, silly and innocuous social banter on private messengering features of Instagram and Twitter, with no overt or actual comments about sex. Up until a few days ago, never once did any artist or representative state to Crowley or anyone else that anything that Crowley has said was offensive. In fact, the artists’ comments in the messages are very similar to Crowleys.
Now, the artists and their representatives, lead by Nik Thakkar and Nate Kisos, solely for the purposes of self promotion, have engaged in a defamatory campaign to destroy Mr. Crowley and his career, making repeated, defamatory and in some instances absurd statements on Twitter about Mr. Crowley.
If you examine the partial messages carefully, there is nothing offensive in them and, more importantly, there is absolutely no indication that anyone was offended or that Crowley ever sought anything in exchange for publicity. In fact, the silly messages Thakkar posted took place after Billboard had already written a piece on Thakkar, that Crowley approved and that went live the next day. Therefore, Thakkar has no credibility on his claim of quid pro quo harassment; it is a self-promoting fantasy of his, one that now leads to litigation.
You can say anything on Twitter these days and instantly it somehow becomes “truth”. When does #metoo go too far? Mr. Crowley will now not back down and will be filing a lawsuit for defamation and tortious interference with the right to contract against Thakkar, Kiso and others. These artists have attractive, edgy, extremely aggressive and overtly sexual presences in social media. In fact, one of the artist features a picture of himself inhaling a sex drug as part of his self promotion. How any of these artists could have been offended by anything Mr. Crowley did or said is beyond our understanding. And, in fact, no artist ever did say anything until this latest Twitter bandwagon began, a march of talking heads who think they can say just about anything they want on Twitter and somehow get away with it.
To make matters worse, and sadly, Billboard decided to abruptly end Crowley’s employment solely based on an investigation into Thakkar’s Tweets that lasted less than 24 hours. Even more tragic is that Billboard treated Mr. Crowley, a gay man, in an entirely different manner than other senior male straight employees of Billboard who were accused by female employees of specific acts of sexual harassment; these woman complained in real time to Billboard’s HR department about specific acts of actual conduct that offended them. And, after an investigation, these straight Billboard employees were allowed to keep their jobs. This is homophobia in the workplace in its highest and most sinister form. Billboard continues to defame Mr. Crowley by making outrageous and unsupported statements in the press. Billboard will shortly be served with a lawsuit for, among other things, discrimination based on sexual orientation.
GSN has contacted Billboard for comment.
Billboard released a statement responding to accusations of defamation and anti-gay discrimination.
They called the accusations ‘baseless’.
‘After reviewing the evidence of Mr. Crowley’s misconduct, we remain completely comfortable with our decision to terminate his employment,’ the statement continued.
‘Moreover, after being made aware of additional allegations of inappropriate behavior on his part, we once again would like to urge anyone with knowledge of similar misconduct to let us know about it, either via email at hotline.valencemediagroup.com or anonymously by phone at 1-800-461-9330.
‘As an unequivocal supporter of the community of artists, Billboard condemns the effort by Mr. Crowley’s lawyers to intimidate his alleged victims into silence and we pledge to assist them in any way we can.’