Taylor Swift, a DJ, and an unwelcome grab
The case was in US courts this week and the media had a field day.
Taylor Swift alleged KYGO announcer David Mueller groped her while posing for a photo at a meet-and-greet before the Denver, Colorado leg of her Red Tour in 2013. He vehemently denied it and went on to sue her for $3,000,000 for losing his job (and arguably career).
Swift counter-sued for just $1; using the trial as “an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts”. The photo looked bad for the former radio host and Taylor Swift’s testimony was damning: “It was intentional. He latched onto my bare ass cheek under my skirt”.
And yes – the judge threw it out of court.
Groping is not in itself a heinous act. It is completely appropriate in a relationship between consenting adults. It can be playful, fun, sexy. But the mandatory ingredient is consent.
It’s the same when you are working with talent.
As a coach or mentor or PD, you have to first earn the trust of the person you are working with. You must have their emotional permission and their professional consent to criticise, to pinpoint Achilles’ Heels and to challenge them in growth areas. This takes time. It takes investment from both sides to nurture and foster that mutual respect and it cannot be rushed.
Storming in too quickly with assessments and critiques is rarely welcomed and nothing good can come of it. Walls go up and the relationship takes much longer to develop and to flourish. One of the hardest things to do as a Programmer is to do nothing for 90 days in a new role. Hard, but it’s vital in the unspoken battle of gaining consent. The ongoing challenge is to always listen more than you speak; and praise more than you scold.
Talent are generally gentle, creative souls and their best will only be uncovered if they are treated with respect.