Alanis Morissette: 'Almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted, harassed, raped'

Erin Donnelly
·2-min read

Alanis Morissette says the music industry is primed for a #MeToo reckoning of its own.

In a new interview with the Sunday Times Magazine, the singer speaks out against a culture she says is steeped in abuse and misogyny — though she stops short of naming names.

While industry figures like rocker Ryan Adams, R&B star R. Kelly, producer Dr. Luke and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons have been accused, to varying degrees, of sexual misconduct, Morissette says a Hollywood-style movement “hasn’t even begun in the music industry.”

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“Almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted, harassed, raped,” the mom of three said. “It’s ubiquitous — more in music, even, than film. It’s just so normalised.

Alanis Morissette says the music industry is rife with stories of abuse. (Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa via Getty Images)
Alanis Morissette says the music industry is rife with stories of abuse. (Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa via Getty Images)

“Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll?” she added. “By definition it’s crass, sweaty and aggressive. But it’s only a matter of time before it has its own explosion of stories.”

The 45-year-old declined to identify anyone in particular as a perpetrator — responding, “I don’t have an answer at this moment” — but did share instances from her own pop star past.

“Many things happened: sexual abuse, exploitation, financial undermining,” she said of her music career, saying she was mistreated from age “3 onwards, frankly.” That included being pressured to lose weight after skyrocketing to stardom with Jagged Little Pill, culminating in an eating disorder and depression.

“Unsolicited feedback is a form of violence against women,” she said.

Morissette turned to recovery groups and used her music to work through her demons. She told the Sunday Times that her record company responded by suggesting that the music video for “Hands Clean” feature kids singing its provocative lyrics about abuse.

Morissette (performing in 1995) says she was pressured to lose weight and faced abusive behavior. (Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Morissette (performing in 1995) says she was pressured to lose weight and faced abusive behavior. (Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

“I was like, ‘Have you heard the lyrics? Did you read… ? No, right?’” she recalled.

While she praised Kesha, who is in a lengthy legal battle with Dr. Luke over her allegation of rape, for “kicking a**,” Morissette also defended those who take their time to share their own experiences.

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“I mean, please. First of all, they didn’t wait. Second, they face the threat of losing their job, reputation or not being believed. At best it’s swept under the rug, at worst you are admonished or fired,” she said of women who expose abuse.

“My goal would be to take away the normalisation,” she said later. “And the structures that allow it.”