Is Beatport a toxic place to work? A Vice exposé says so…

Back on Wednesday, Ears To The House ran an article about how Annabel Ross – she who was crucial in exposing the multiple allegations of sexual abuse against Derrick May to the world – was openly pushing the mostly mythical Belleville Three story as part of an article for Vice.

Since then, we’ve had a few emails on the subject. Some impertinent souls suggested we ran the article because our editor has a “grudge” against Ross, and others wondered why we weren’t commenting on the main subject of the piece. In response, the editor nor anyone else at this site do grudges – and we also said we’d come back to this article when we had a chance to read it.

Because this article by Annabel Ross is very, very long. Painfully long, in fact. If Vice do employ editors, we wonder what the heck they do all day – because they haven’t done their job here. Ross wrote enough here for at least a three-part series – publishing the whole thing in one go was a strange move.

And having read the article itself in its entirety – mostly so that you don’t have to – most of those giving accounts about their time working with Beatport are actually detailing discussions which take place within companies all the time. Ears To The House is no different – our team discuss things and we come to the most collective view we can.

Let’s give an example here. Ross writes about an employee at Beatport who wasn’t happy with the company’s response to the death of George Floyd. Now, the way Floyd died was truly horrific – and we think his police officer killer should be in prison for the rest of his days. But Ross makes no mention of the fact George Floyd was not a saint.

Ross fails to tell her readers that Floyd was a career criminal whose crimes dated back to at least 1997. Omitting this crucial detail means readers are not given the full story. Anyone knowing this would be aware that any corporate comment on George Floyd could result in a backlash – could Beatport management really therefore be blamed for wanting to proceed with caution? Freedom of speech also allows people not to say anything if they wish.

Elsewhere, Ross details an email which Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels sent in July 2020 urging staff to stop letting their personal feelings get in the way of their work. Any sensible boss would agree with the sentiment – employees are there to do a job, after all. If they want to engage in political activism, that is a matter for individuals – why should their employer be dragged into it? Only in the world of Annabel Ross, it seems, could employees being expected to do their jobs be perceived as a problem.

Much more serious – and frankly, much more worthy of an article in their own right – are allegations made against Terry Weerasinghe, the current boss at Boiler Room. If this portrayal of him is to be believed, he’s a misogynistic bully – his lawyer incidentally denies he’s either of those things.

They say he made comments about women returning to work after having a baby. They say he hounded people out of the company through incessant bullying. They say he referred to a pregnant woman as hormonal. He denies all of these things – and all of them are far more serious than an attempt to drag Beatport into a political debate.

It’s the allegations against him and Romain Pouillon which are the most troubling here – and whilst reporting on division at Beatport over their stance on George Floyd and Black Lives Matter is obviously legitimate, the way these two topics have been lumped into one mess of an article is unfortunate, to say the least…

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