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Home / Showbiz / Former Music Exec Describes Being Harassed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and It’s Both Heartbreaking and Scathingly Hilarious

Former Music Exec Describes Being Harassed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and It’s Both Heartbreaking and Scathingly Hilarious

In 1990, Julie Farman was an associate director of media and artist relations for the Epic Record’s West Coast division. Everyone was trying to sign the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Farman posted about her experience of meeting with the band after a colleague asked her to. RHCP already had a reputation for violent and misogynist behavior, and Farman says she straight up hated their music. Her description of meeting the band shows her instincts were right:

At first I refused to even go to a meeting with the band. The A&R guy was a friend, though, and after an hour of talking about it, I reluctantly agreed to attend. At the meeting, I did a credible impression of a person who didn’t think the Chili Peppers were assholes or that their music was completely fucking horrible; I talked enthusiastically about strategy, artist development and press campaigns, and I presented ideas on further establishing their image. None of them involved wearing socks on their dicks.

Afterwards, I took two of the Chili Peppers to the storage room where we kept the box sets and CDs. As we looked in the cabinet, they pressed up against me and told me about all of the ways we could make a super sexy sandwich.

At first I thought they were joking. When I realized they weren’t, I ran from the storage room to my office, where I closed my door, sat down at my desk, and cried. I was humiliated and weirdly ashamed, and embarrassed that I was humiliated and weirdly ashamed. There was far worse going on in the music industry at the time, and I thought I was a badass. Being a victim didn’t fit my self-perception.
Farman says she was inspired to finally share this story by the media takedown of Heathcliff Berru, and also her own increasingly intense reactions to any mention of RHCP or their music. She realized that within the 25 years since she was cornered in that storage closet, she’d only shared her story with two close friends. The whole essay is well worth reading here, but I want to emphasize this killer closer:

Fuck the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the misogynistic culture of the music industry that kept me from speaking up in 1991. I wish I had. I’m not naieve[sic] enough to think it would have made much of a difference, but if it kept just one person from having to hear “Californication,” it would have been a start.

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