Konstantin apologises amidst ADE controversy, authors of open letter identify 'next steps'

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    Fri, 14 Sep 2018, 13:14
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  • "It's clear that sexism isn't properly understood, let alone addressed," say the women behind the statement.
  • Konstantin apologises amidst ADE controversy, authors of open letter identify 'next steps' image
  • Konstantin has responded to an open letter and petition calling for his removal from three parties at the upcoming Amsterdam Dance Event. The open letter, which condemns the industry-wide problem of sexism and cites Konstantin's sexist comments from his 2017 Groove magazine interview, seeks for ADE to drop him from three parties hosted by Circoloco, Loveland, NGHTDVSN, Next Monday's Hangover and his own label, Giegling. They write: "Overt sexism by male DJs makes the scene inaccessible and dangerous for women... Konstantin should not be playing during ADE. Everyone has an opportunity to make their views on this matter explicit. Silence is complicity." It has received more than 2,000 signatures since it was published last week. In a statement provided to media, Konstantin says it "breaks [his] heart" to be "considered as a symbol of sexism and discrimination." He continues: "Through the conversations last year I realized that from my own perspective I didn't understand the levels of discrimination and sexism that still exist in our society. If I had seen this clearer and actually felt it, I wouldn't have discussed this topic so carelessly... I deeply apologize to the people that I have hurt and to those who spent so much time with me to get to this point. It took me long to get back to all this. I needed to process and find the right words, and first of all I had to learn to listen. I would love to know what I can do to make amends." In the wake of the open letter and petition, prominent members of the scene have shared examples of Konstantin's behaviour extending outside of the Groove interview. The Black Madonna tweeted that he "directly" told her and her tour manager, "I'm a chauvinist and you might not wanna be around me if you're a feminist." "It wasn't a joke," she wrote. The Discwoman collective tweeted, "Since we started, we've never experienced a man DJ be as disparaging as Konstantin has. He said this stuff to us verbatim." The people behind the open letter have shared their response to Konstantin's new statement with RA, emphasising that their actions were not focused on only him and aimed to address an industry-wide problem. They also criticise ADE's plan to feature Konstantin on a panel about sexism in the music industry, because, "Instead of refusing him to be a part of the festival, they're actually extending yet another invitation to him by giving him yet another platform." They also explain the premise of their own panel, Taking a Stance on Sexism in the Dance Industry: Accountability and Anger, which they plan to host independently during ADE. Read their complete statement.
    "We think this statement is an essential step in moving forward. Konstantin appears to recognise the need to listen and for time to unlearn. Yet, as we've said before, this was never just between us and Konstantin, the open letter was addressed to the promoters and to a wider ADE community. Konstantin recognising the impact of his behaviour is good, yes, but we still need that level of accountability and willingness to engage from the rest. It also needs to come from those who defended his actions, who saw no issue in his sexist remarks, those with influential positions like [Loveland booker] Robert Deutsch in particular. What are the next steps? That's what we need to focus on. The issues we confront in our letter are still present. We've been really disappointed with most of the reactions from the Dutch music scene, it's clear that sexism isn't properly understood, let alone addressed. That ADE believed inviting Konstantin to speak on a panel was a solution really exemplified the power dynamics and the lack of knowledge we are dealing with. It's why we've chosen to host our own panel during ADE: Taking a Stance on Sexism in the Dance Industry: Accountability and Anger. We want to listen to those with experience, learn (collectively) how we can act against sexism whilst dealing with the anger, frustration and emotional load that comes with confronting it and challenge the lack of accountability across the industry."
    Since posting the letter, its organisers have also published an FAQ document, which elaborates on their intentions and goals, the need for these discussions, common misconceptions and more. Under the question, "What do you hope to achieve?" they answer, "Individuals, such as Konstantin, should address their behaviour without deflecting responsibility. Accountability should not lead to applause or immediate absolution from any consequence. There's no one answer of how to deal with these situations, but the bare minimum should be: an effort to unlearn behaviour, listening to the needs of those who have been affected by your actions, and honest communication with fans/following." Next Monday's Hangover, one of the promoters that booked Konstantin during ADE, has issued a statement of its own to the media. They explain their reasons for booking Konstantin ("Our respect for him and the Giegling crew as artists, in combination with our own efforts on battling sexism, motived [sic] us to give him another chance") and state their intentions to keep him on the lineup for their ADE party with NGHTDVSN. "Moving forward, we think a lot has been accomplished already," part of their statement reads. "Public debate has started, promoters have reflected on their choices and responsibilities, Konstantin has apologized. Awareness has increased tremendously, and many doors have been opened to start additional positive actions. The women behind the open letter can certainly be proud already. What remains is whether Konstantin should perform at this year's ADE, or in the words of the open letter, is it okay for him to 'be taking up space'? We believe it's more constructive to focus on the broader issue, not an individual person, and to concentrate on positive change, not to ban people with dissonant opinions." We are awaiting a statement from ADE, and we will update this story when we hear back. Read more / FAQ: Don't welcome sexism at ADE, remove Konstantin from the line-ups News: ADE defies calls to drop Konstantin from lineup, promises panel on sexism featuring him News: Sexist remarks from Giegling's Konstantin surface in Groove profile Due to the sensitive nature of this story, the comments on this news piece are locked. For more information, please refer to our community guidelines.