#metooNZ Brings Down Second New Zealand Artist Manager
New Zealand’s #metooNZ movement has brought down another high-profile New Zealand artist manager just three days after investigations saw Lorde’s first manager Scott Maclachlan fired from Warner Music Australasia.
Paul McKessar quit as director of Auckland-based CRS Management Wednesday Jan. 27 for “crossing professional boundaries” with past clients, Stuff reported.
The artist management and events company he co-founded with Campbell Smith includes Benee, Brooke Fraser, Laiika, Josh Fountain, Space Above and Miss June on its roster.
McKessar also returned his Music Managers Forum the Manager of the Year trophy he received at the 2020 Aotearoa Music Awards for steering Benee’s international career following her breakthrough 2019 song “Supalonely”.
Stuff and #metooNZ conducted a month-long investigation into sexual harassment and abuses of power in the local music industry. The report on McKessar included comments from two of the manager’s past clients.
Former Openside lead singer Possum Plows revealed a year-long sexual relationship which she said their manager initiated.
Singer songwriter Lydia Cole was uneasy about his “flirtatious behaviour” when she was first signed at age 21, and split with him in 2015 after an “alcohol-fuelled, sexually-charged encounter” at his studios.
Both artists told Stuff their relationship was consensual but noted the music industry’s power imbalance for women and non-binary people.
Campbell Smith apologised “unreservedly” to the two artists saying, “This should not have happened to you, and I am determined to take steps to ensure other artists and people working in our industry are treated with respect.”
Smith appointed an independent investigator to conduct a review of workplace practices and culture at CRS and promised any follow up action would be taken as a matter of urgency.
“It is vital that our clients feel safe and valued by everyone who works for or with CRS,” he said.
“Paul will remain stood down indefinitely. I will reconsider this position when the investigation is completed and a report outlining its findings and recommendations has been delivered.”