Written by Maya-Rose Torrão
Over 2000 people have signed a petition to remove Giegling DJ Konstantin from three parties during Amsterdam Dance Event, in light of an interview last year with German publication Groove Magazine, in which Konstantin was quoted as making a slew of sexist comments. In the article, Konstantin said that that DJing makes women look “manly” and to take on the decks, women must lose their “female qualities”. He also expressed that he thought women, who are “usually worse at DJing than men”, are disproportionately promoted over male DJs.
ADE, when asked about the petition, responded: “Of course we have seen the petition, we agree this is an important topic to address. Probably we will ask Konstantin to attend a panel and discuss this topic. Amsterdam Dance Event is the perfect place, and the awareness about this is becoming bigger and bigger in the music industry.”
After making this comment, ADE has not shared any further details about this panel, which the petition did not ask for; nor have they publicly called on the three parties’ promoters to drop him from the lineups. Konstantin will appear on two lineups, hosted by promoters Circoloco, Loveland, NGHTDVSN and Next Monday’s Hangover, during Amsterdam Dance Event, in addition to his own label’s showcase.
The petition, which garnered more than 2,000 signatures in just a few days, states: “We—women, dancers, DJs, writers, bookers, activists and music-lovers—are tired of sexism in the electronic music industry… Overt sexism by male DJs makes the scene inaccessible and dangerous for women… Sexism is not a problem exclusive to this DJ, nor to the Giegling crew. Yet, the fact that they have failed to adequately address his views, and have continued to stand by him, should be taken seriously by everyone in our community: bookers, agents, promoters, audiences and other DJs alike. Therefore: Konstantin should not be playing during ADE.
Everyone has an opportunity to make their views on this matter explicit. Silence is complicity.”
Loveland, who are hosting Konstantin with Circoloco, naively told Mixmag despite evidence of the DJ’s misogyny, “I thought it was already water under the bridge… I haven’t seen any proof that says he really has a hatred against women in any way or form. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”
Konstantin has since responded to the petition and, in a statement to Mixmag, says: “The fact that I am now considered as a symbol of sexism and discrimination is the opposite of what I want to achieve. This breaks my heart. Because I don’t think women are worse DJs than men. There are DJs with different levels of skills, but this has nothing to do with gender.”
He continues, “I realised that I treated sensitive topics with a lack of knowledge by taking only my own experiences into consideration. Through the conversations last year I realised that from my own perspective I didn’t understand the levels of discrimination and sexism that still exist in our society. If I had seen this clearer and actually felt it, I wouldn’t have discussed this topic so carelessly. Therefore, I now comprehend the huge importance and the need for people who make this discrimination visible and try to bring things into balance.”
In June last year, Konstantin was dropped from Sunfall’s night session in London following his comments.
The core group behind the petition document have also published a list of FAQs, which can be viewed here, that includes the following:
“We wanted to confront the tolerance and normalisation of sexism in the industry. Many responses to our letter proved that sexism isn’t even widely understood. We need people to be aware of the issue and its impact. We need promoters to acknowledge that booking sexist artists is welcoming sexism into their clubs.
Individuals, such as Konstantin, should address their behaviour without deflecting responsibility. Accountability should not lead to applause or immediate absolution from any consequence. There’s no one answer of how to deal with these situations, but the bare minimum should be: an effort to unlearn behaviour, listening to the needs of those who have been affected by your actions, and honest communication with fans/following.”
ADE 2018 takes place on 18-22 October in Amsterdam.