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Artists, record labels denounce musician accused of sexual assault

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, March 17, 2020  /  06:17 pm
Artists, record labels denounce musician accused of sexual assault

Musicians have denounced a Tangerang-based musician following a rape accusation. (Shutterstock/ Elnur)

A number of artists and record labels have taken down musical pieces made in collaboration with Tangerang-based noise artist Rofi “Bijan” Faisal Najib, who uses the monikers Samparrr and Rustikutas, after accusations of sexual misconduct against him surfaced.

On Sunday, Twitter user @sonuvabitjxh posted a thread with the victim's consent describing the musician's alleged abuse.

The thread also reported that at least eight women claimed to have been victims of sexual assault by Bijan.

Soon after, several musicians took down the music they made with Bijan to show support for the alleged victims.

Fachri Bayu Wicaksono, initiator of musical project Orestes, has taken down a mini album released in 2019.

“I don’t want to be associated with Samparrr,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday in a phone interview.

Fachri said the To The Deaf Serenity album was made with Bijan and another musician in November 2019.

“There was no indication that he was a predator. The collaboration went smoothly until we released the album,” Fachri said.

He added that royalties from the online distribution of the album would be donated toward the resolution process of the cases.

Tomo Hartono of Hantu Records, which released the Orestes mini album, said that the company allowed no room for sexual violence.

“Hantu is operated by women and queers, therefore we want to actively make a safe and inclusive space for everyone,” Tomo told the Post on Monday.

“We do not tolerate sexual offenses; we do not want to protect the perpetrator. If you are proven guilty, Hantu does not want to be affiliated in any way with you.”

He added that artists under Hantu Records had undergone thorough background checks to make sure that they were not affiliated with any sexual misconduct.

“We thought he was clean, but maybe we were fooled. However, our protocol demands that if any of our collaborators is known to be problematic, we have to own up to our mistakes and do better,” he said.

He added that Orestes planned to re-release the music after omitting all Samparrr’s contributions to the tracks.

Elang Terbang Kolektif (ETK), a Tangerang, Banten, experimental music collective in which Bijan was actively involved, has decided to exclude him from any activity.

Gerry Lainil Fauzi of the collective told the Post it refused to be affiliated with Bijan hereafter.

“We will not collaborate with him any further. We are now focusing on helping the victims with our best efforts,” Gerry said on Monday via messaging app.

He also said that two record labels that had released Bijan’s project, Samparrr, had taken down his work from their platforms.


~ . Sebuah pernyataan sikap kami yang perlu kalian tau

A post shared by Elang Terbang Kolektif (@elangterbangkolektif) on

“Samparrr released a cassette under Sindensanen Records, but it has taken down the release following this case," Gerry said. "Roaches Records, which released Samparrr’s first album, has also taken it down and has stopped selling the album,” Gerry said.

ETK also urged music collectives outside Tangerang to refrain from working with Bijan.

Read also: Victims, musicians use social media to highlight sexual harassment at concerts

Wednes Mandra of Yogyakarta-based noir folk band Rabu said that he had removed Samparrr’s contribution from the band's upcoming release.

“About a year ago, Rabu openly asked for people to contribute audio materials for our new album. Samparrr sent us a 12-minute noise track, and I took only 20-30 seconds for a song,” Wednes told the Post on Monday.

“I did not know him personally. But we welcome everyone. We make art so everyone should openly inspire each other,” he said. “However, after seeing ETK and Hanturecs’ posts in which Bijan turned out to be problematic, I decided that I would not give him space in Rabu’s album,” Wednes said.

Wednes said that Rabu was asking musicians to contribute audio tracks to replace Bijan’s deleted part.

In a country where sexual offenses are often hushed up and victims are told to stay silent, what happened to Bijan is a rare example of social punishment.

The collective announcements of music communities denouncing Bijan has been seen as a breath of fresh air and an increase in awareness of sexual violence. The music scene has been criticized for protecting alleged perpetrators, such as when the punk community Ponti was blasted in early March after a member was accused of rape and no action was taken.

In October 2019, a music fan took to Twitter to share her story of being sexually abused during a performance by rock band Feast in Bekasi, West Java.

This led to many sharing their own stories of being victims of sexual harassment, including musicians who performed on stage.

On Monday, Bijan admitted his actions and uploaded a confession video on Instagram. (wng)

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