Unify Gathering Has Removed I Killed The Prom Queen From Line-Up Over Sexist Comments
"It’s our responsibility to call out unacceptable behaviour wherever we see it."
A day after Unify Gathering released its 2019 line-up, they’ve removed headliners I Killed The Prom Queen from the festival amid criticism regarding a series of sexist comments frontman Michael Crafter made in 2016.
The Adelaide metal band were set to reunite under their original line-up in a one night only performance at the festival this January, marking the 15-year anniversary of debut album When Goodbye Means Forever. Notably, Crafter would return as vocalist after leaving the band in 2006 (and then again in 2008).
Yesterday, the line-up attracted criticism for a lack of gender-diversity — by Lineup Without Males’ count, just 24 percent of the line-up’s acts featured a member who identified as non-male.
It wasn’t the first time, either: in 2016, Unify was criticised for having an overly male-orientated line-up, and publicly committed on Facebook to doing better in the future, calling gender diversity “an important and serious issue”.
In the post, Unify also distanced themselves from comments Crafter had made in which he defended the festival by saying “there’s enough girls [getting] finger banged in the tents to be happy enough about the festival.”
His appearance on the 2019 line-up, then, stood out to several music industry figures, who criticised the festival for backing down on their previous commitment.
Ah yes, very good, Unify Gathering. pic.twitter.com/DkCMCZvufj
— Sophie Benjamin (@sophbenj) August 8, 2018
“Women want to be equal… get fucking better at being in a band” 😂 🆗 Michael Crafter, pretty sure you’ll be eating your words after seeing Charlotte, Nikki, Maz, Alexandra, Bonnie, Stevie and Mikaila #yeahthegirls pic.twitter.com/QC8ZkI7HlZ
— Bridget Hustwaite (@BHustwaite) August 9, 2018
shocked and appalled today at the revalation that a band called “i killed the prom queen” may in fact have some pretty out of date & unacceptable views on gender
— shut up, xavier (@XavierRN) August 9, 2018
Speaking to Music Junkee yesterday, Listen — a non-profit organisation promoting women in Australian music — said that it was “disappointing to see so little improvement” on the line-up’s gender diversity, and that providing a platform for Crafter “sends the message that they condone his misogynistic commentary.”
“There is a notably lower participation of women and gender non-conforming people in heavier genres of music, but this does not mean that the Unify lineup is acceptable.”
This afternoon, Unify Gathering announced via media partner triple j that they were removing I Killed The Prom Queen.
“We made this decision because historical comments made on social media by former member Michael Crafter, who was to re-appear as guest singer of I Killed the Prom Queen for their one-off 2004 nostalgia set,” the festival said in a statement. “These comments fall well short of today’s community standards and were considered deeply offensive to many people within our music community.”
“These comments are completely unacceptable and contrary to our deeply held values and beliefs that music is for everyone and to be enjoyed by all.”
“We want to create a culture of positive change within the music industry and it’s our responsibility to call out unacceptable behaviour wherever we see it.”
Yesterday, Crafter apologised for his previous comments, tweeting that “things I said then are not a reflection of who I am today, as two years is a long time.”
Two years ago and plenty of time years previously, I said a lot of dumb stuff online to troll, cause drama and bait people to piss them off. Things I said then are not a reflection of who I am today, as two years is a long time.
— Michael Crafter (@Crafterxxx) August 9, 2018
Unify Gathering will be held at Tarwin Tower, Victoria across 9-11 January 2019. The full line-up can be found here.