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London radio station suspends broadcasting after sexual harassment claims

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Megan Murray
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London-based station, Radar Radio, has been forced to suspend further broadcasting after a set of serious accusations have been reported against its producers and DJs. 

The three-year-old radio station, owned by Ollie Ashley (the son of Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley), had previously been hailed as a pioneering platform for the next generation of musicians and broadcasters and was known for championing new artists. Despite being a relatively new venture, the station has large following and has previously hosted guests such as JME and Cardi B. 

But after multiple accusations have been made against Radio Radar’s DJs and producers, the station has announced via Twitter it will be off air until it’s “in a position to address the recent commentary around aspects of the station.”

BBC Newsbeat reports that feminist DJ collective, Pxssy Palace, made the first statement about having a negative experience with the radio station. The collective described the station as an “an uncomfortable and toxic environment which has led to the departure of many women of colour staff” because of an imbalance in pay, unfair promotion opportunities and “allowing the airing of sexist, homophobic and transphobic shows.” 

Radar Radio responded to these claims with a statement on its blog, which reads: “We were very concerned and disappointed to see the statement from Pxssy Palace suggesting that we are getting some important aspects wrong.

“We don’t agree with all the opinions in that statement but like most organisations we know we are capable of making mistakes and have to be vigilant to maintain standards.”

Following these initial claims, further allegations have been made of sexual harassment and sexism. Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, a former female employee alleges that she was “grabbed” and asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.  

The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, says: “There was a producer who grabbed my bum when I was out at a club one night. I’ve heard conversations of Radar staff behind the scenes saying very misogynistic things, very homophobic things, very very racist things - and it’s like, you wouldn’t have a platform if it wasn’t for black people.

“The idea that young white men can come in, use this platform that’s built off the back of grime and have racist views at the same time is really really messed up.”

She also claims that when writing about these experiences on social media, a manager told her “it’s just boys being boys” and “either tell a manager or stay silent on the topic”.

Ashtart Al-Hurra, a former studio assistant and producer at Radar Radio, posted on her blog Mixed Spices about her experiences working at the station, entitled: “I’m a woman of colour who was mistreated at Radar Radio - their reaction to Pxssy Palace’s leaving statement is absolute trash. Here’s why.”

 Al-Hurra writes: “While working at Radar, I was sexually harassed, like, fucking tonnes, by dickhead dj dudes.” 

She heavily criticises the management of the complaints she made while at the station and details that the experience made her “depressed” causing her to suspend her masters for a year, have six months of therapy and cut herself off from family and friends. 

The accusations have resulted in a domino effect of resignations from show hosts. Author, blogger and DJ, Chidera Eggerue also known as The Slumflower, tweeted that she could “not condone what’s surfaced regarding the mistreatment of Black Women at Radar Radio.”

Producer and DJ Ikonika also tweeted her disapproval of the radio station’s actions, confirming that she would be leaving “with immediate effect.” While presenter Snoochie Shy, who previously hosted the breakfast show, said that due to the views “being so far removed from my own” she has also stepped down. 

Images: Getty Images

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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