Gerry Read responds to accusations of misogyny, racism and cultural appropriation

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  • The accusations, which centre on two releases in 2016, surfaced last month via a new and anonymous Twitter account.
  • Gerry Read responds to accusations of misogyny, racism and cultural appropriation image
  • Content warning: This story contains screenshots of racial slurs and images of a graphic sexual nature. Gerry Read has been accused of racism and cultural appropriation against Black people, and misogyny. The accusations, which surfaced last month via a new and anonymous Twitter account called Exposing Dance And Electronic Music, centre on two releases, the Chubby Cheeks album on Timetable Records and the Self Titled EP on Read's Big Head Records, both of which came out in 2016. Read, in a statement sent to Resident Advisor, accepts responsibility for some of the accusations and rejects others. According to a tweet posted on May 28th, Chubby Cheeks, Read's second album, includes "over 150 uses of the n-word, use of stereotyping and exploitative samples and misogynistic themes throughout." In another tweet on the same thread, the account adds, "the picture Gerry Read is wilfully painting of Black people, with wanton use of racial slurs and samples of archaic Blaxploitation cinema, is entirely gross and offensive for a white man to present." The thread then links to three tracks on the album: "Running Back," "A Male Gassing" and "Wipe Out."
    The second release highlighted by the Twitter account is the Self Titled EP, which was originally released anonymously under the name Nigella. The artwork shows a Black woman's face. This time, the accusations centre not on the music but on Read's alleged digital impersonation of a Black woman "who was hyper-sexualised, used African-American slang exclusively, and could not spell." Another tweet then alleges that "Nigella" had "her own Twitter and SoundCloud accounts where Gerry Read would post as this fictional Black Lady, but these were recently deleted. However, it is still possible to search for deleted posts that were shared on Facebook."
    The Twitter account also links to a still-active SoundCloud account called CHUBBY CHEEKS, which was allegedly used by Read to post tracks from the Chubby Cheeks album ahead of its release. The artwork on SoundCloud appears to show a Black woman's face covered in semen. Links to two Resident Advisor articles—a 2017 profile of Read and a 2016 review of the Self Titled EP—were posted in the Twitter thread. Both are written by former RA section editor Patric Fallon, who did not respond to a request for comment. In both cases, RA acknowledges a failure to hold Read to account for instances of cultural appropriation, misogyny and racial stereotyping. Read has been putting out music since 2010, clocking up releases on labels like Aus Music, Accidental Jnr and Pampa Records. In 2019, he signed to Ministry Of Sound via Sony Music Group. Last week, RA wrote to Gerry Read's management to offer Read a right of reply. His statement has been edited for length and clarity.
    There are many things referenced within this report that are completely false and at some points photoshopped. The Nigella social media accounts and posts allegedly made by me never existed. The alias Nigella was a clumsy tongue-in-cheek EP self-released on limited CD only in 2016. Nigella is not a representation of a Black woman and was never released as a female producer. The name derived from an old Facebook name, Nigel Pillowcase. The Nigella social media accounts and posts allegedly made by me never existed nor did any Nigella social media account. My Gerry Read Facebook was made in June 2013— the alleged post "penned by Gerry Read" is from 2012. I appreciate this alias could be perceived this way hence why it has been inactive for five years and the CDs are currently listed as sold out by choice. After a recent dispute last year with an old label to retrieve my back catalogue due to not paying royalties and company dissolution in 2016, my management and label were met with threats of a "mud-slinging campaign" by this individual. I believe this is what is being attempted now. Chubby Cheeks was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek offensive album never aimed at a specific group of people. I take responsibility for Chubby Cheeks and apologise for it causing offence today. As a naive 21-year-old artist I wasn't aware of the connotations and consequences of doing so, which I do not stand behind. I have developed a better understanding and appreciation on such topics, as well as furthering my understanding of the importance of clearing samples as an artist. I consider this a very important conversation that needs to be addressed within the industry among artists, labels and music press. Currently I'm in a position where I cannot only have a better understanding of my responsibility in creating music sampling disco and funk records, but with the ability to clear samples with the original artists. Going forward crediting and paying original musicians I truly believe to be the ultimate way to respect all artists, specifically Black music in all its forms as an electronic producer.
    Photo credit: Steve Braiden