Bloodshot Records co-owner and co-founder Nan Warshaw is stepping away from the Chicago-based label after singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless accused Warshaw’s partner Mark Panick of sexual harassment over the weekend.
This all appears to have snowballed from the revelation of similar accusations against Ryan Adams, to which Loveless responded via Twitter on Friday, condemning Adams as “a phony ass motherfucker with too much power” and denouncing the music industry for having enabled him.
Loveless concluded her Twitter thread by tying the Adams situation to her own, holding her record label (which released Adams’ 2000 album Heartbreaker) responsible for her longtime harassment at the hands of a then-unidentified man.
Loveless named that man in an Instagram post shared Saturday, revealing that “Warshaw’s domestic partner Mark Panick has long been a source of strife for me.”
I feel like I’m going to break into a million pieces and this was hard to write. However I made an angry tweet yesterday and felt this was necessary. I know it’s going to cause problems for myself and a lot of other people but I am tired of carrying it around.
A post shared by Lydia Loveless; (@lydialovelesss) on
Loveless describes her label, like the industry at large, as an environment in which her frequent harassment at Panick’s hands was treated as normal—the price of being a woman in music. Her full statement reads:
I began my relationship with Bloodshot Records when I was 19. They are a fun and creative group of mostly good people—in fact many of them I consider to be friends more than business colleagues. However, Nan Warshaw’s domestic partner Mark Panick has long been a source of strife for me. From the day I started a relationship with the label, he was a part of all social events, including taking my band and I out for drinks at SXSW the first time I ever went. He was, for years, as much of a face of the label as anyone. I do not think I am alone in experiencing his casual predation, but this is only my story to tell. For years he would greet me with a rub to the ass and a close whisper in the ear—”Hey, hooooney.” He friended me on facebook and left comments on my page that would elicit texts from friends—Who is this person? Are you OK? In one instance, he approached me at the Bloodshot 20th Anniversary party and, while resting his hand between my buttcheeks, told me he loved my messy hairdo because it reminded him of the way girls’ hair in high school would look after they blew him. I didn’t know who to tell about these behaviors because I felt afraid, as for me, shows are work events and Mark was a part of the label from my eyes—my label. I continued to put up with it, dread label events and endure anxious stomach [...] knew he would be day drinking with the rest of us. I personally find this sort of day to day harassment to be the most insidious thing women have to put up with, because it leads to a slow erosion of confidence and instills guilt—what did I do? Should I dress more modestly? After one groping incident at SXSW one year, I was told by [Bloodshot co-owner and co-founder] Rob Miller to come to him if I was ever made to feel uncomfortable again. He relayed to Nan some of Mark’s actions he’d witnessed, and was told by Nan that “she couldn’t help it if people threw themselves at Mark.” This was maybe five years ago. It’s hard to remember specifics. After that, I felt completely betrayed by Nan but didn’t want to cease my relationship with the label. A couple years ago I decided to instill a nobody-backstage-in-Chicago rule, in order to avoid seeing Mark at all, but two people at the label called me and asked if they wanted to have Mark permanently banned from events. I agreed that yes, though it would strain Nan’s relationship to me, that would make me feel more comfortable at my own shows. I have not seen him since except for once on accident at a bar after a Cubs game. He did not speak to me. I don’t think Bloodshot has maliciously encouraged this behavior but instead quieted it to protect their brand, and it has indeed been covered up in my eyes, as the Behavior only ceased when I was informed they wanted to begin signing more women.
Bloodshot responded to Loveless’ allegations the following day, issuing a three-part statement from Miller via Twitter on Sunday evening. Miller writes, “While I disagree with certain characterizations contained in the content of her recent social media posts, the story is essentially, and sadly, true.”
Miller goes on to stress Bloodshot’s zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy and clarify Panick’s affiliation—or lack thereof—with the label (“he does not represent us in any way … Therefore, he is also not someone I can fire”), detailing his response to Panick’s alleged behavior (he was barred from both attending label events and contacting Loveless) and disputing Loveless’ suggestion that her harassment was “covered up”: “I have endeavored to help Lydia get her story told, to go public … There has never been an attempt to cover it up, diminish it or deflect blame for it.” He concludes his statement by condemning Panick’s alleged misconduct as “the contemptible actions of a caveman.”
While social media responses to Miller’s statement were generally positive, many wondered where Warshaw, Panick’s partner, stood on the issue. They wouldn’t find out until Monday, when Bloodshot tweeted a statement from their other co-owner and co-founder, in which Warshaw announced she would be “step[ping] away from Bloodshot.”
“I apologize for any hell or even awkwardness I put Lydia or anyone through, due to my actions or inactions,” Warshaw writes, going on to echo Miller’s points regarding the steps taken to address the allegations against Panick, and citing this collision of her personal and professional lives in her decision to exit Bloodshot.
Paste has reached out to Bloodshot for further comment. (Update: A rep for Bloodshot said the label’s official statement is that of Miller.)
Watch Loveless’ 2016 Paste Studio session below.