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Dolly Parton's sister urges singer to speak out over #MeToo abuse

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Anna Brech
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Country singer star Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is not doing enough to combat a culture of abuse in the country music industry - according to her sister, Stella Parton

Dolly Parton’s younger sister Stella Parton says she is “ashamed” of the singer for not speaking up about endemic sexism and abuse in the country music industry.

Parton, who is also a country music singer, has urged her sibling to “speak out” against a culture of abuse, as part of the #MeToo movement. 

“I think my sister should speak out more. I honestly call her out,” Parton says, in a new edition of the Our Stories podcast for Country Line, a country music fan app. 

“I’m ashamed of my sister for keeping her mouth shut. She can run it all day long when it’s about something else. Now speak up against injustice. Defend women, don’t just do it in a little song. Speak up.”

Parton says she’s worked in Nashville, Tennessee, for the duration of her career, and it’s always been ” a good old boy town”. 

She says the #MeToo movement to expose sexual misconduct has yet to reach the famously conservative country music industry, despite creating waves in Hollywood, the fashion world and beyond. 

Country singer Dolly Parton and her sister Stella Parton

Dolly Parton’s sister Stella (right) is urging the singer to speak out about endemic abuse in the music industry

The singer accuses artists “in positions of power” for creating “a code of silence” around the issue.

Some high-profile country singers “have been in abusive relationships”, she claims, and yet they don’t speak out because “they don’t want to mess with their fan base”.

In an impassioned plea, the singer says: “This is the first time I’ve really publicly called my sister out. But it’s high time that some of these older women speak up and speak out.

“They’ve all gone through all kinds of abuse in this industry so: speak up!”

Appearing at the launch of 9 To 5 The Musical last week, Dolly Parton said she hoped the show, which follows an office worker as she takes revenge on her sexist boss, would empower women in a #MeToo era.

In separate interviews, the Jolene star distanced herself from the label of “feminist”, saying: “If being a feminist means I’m all for women, yes. But I don’t feel I have to march, hold up a sign or label myself.”

Stella and Dolly Parton stand three years apart in a family of 12 siblings. In an interview last year, Stella Parton - who appeared in the 2018 edition of Celebrity Masterchef - says she and Dolly have “always been close.”

Images: Getty

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.