To hear record company veteran Julie Farman tell it, sexual harassment was so rampant in the music business in the 1980s and ’90s that many flagrant violations were not even reported, let alone punished. It was an especially difficult time to be a female executive in that industry, and making it even more difficult were bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, who seemingly had no concept of respecting the personal spaces of others. Farman writes of her unhappy encounter with RHCP with clarity and a dose of hard-won humor in a blog post bluntly titled “Blood, Sugar, Sex, Dickheads.” The incident in question occurred during a time, Farman writes, when the Peppers were being courted by “every label,” despite their already horrible track record with women. Their infamy made them salable, so Farman was forced to take a meeting with them. During a tour of a storage room, two of the Peppers “pressed up against” Farman and began discussing how the three could “make a super sexy sandwich.” The horrified executive retreated to her office and cried. It was not a good sign that their manager seemed to have a standard apology committed to memory, Farman says. Her shame over the incident only resurfaced recently when she heard “Can’t Stop” at the gym and did not react well.
Farman says she owes this article to musician Amber Coffman, who recently decided to air her sexual misconduct claims against publicist Heathcliff Berru. Farman admits that the incident with Red Hot Chili Peppers was not the worst she faced in her career, and she rates it only “a 3 on the 1-10 scale of sexual harassment in the music business of the ’80s and ’90s.” The key issue here is that Farman felt she had to suppress the incident and her feelings about it at the time, leading to that much-delayed meltdown at the gym years later. “Being a victim didn’t fit my self-perception,” she writes. The article also gives Farman an opportunity to air her other major grievance against the Peppers: She’s always thought their music was “completely fucking horrible.”