Everyone’s heard the heady stories of what the music biz was like in the good old days – an endless barrage of drug and sex-fuelled debauchery, if you believe many accounts. But in an era where the likes of James Blake views the music industry as not only a sinking ship, but one in which “there are people trapped inside, bashing on the windows trying to get out”, it’s easy to imagine the world of the majors as a far more squeaky clean, tentative place in 2013.
That’s not the the case according to one 41 year-old employee at Universal Music Group’s Santa Monica headquarters, who is suing the workplace for becoming “infiltrated with pervasive drug use where you could smell marijuana seeping from various offices and openly used in common areas, and lounges”, as reported in Billboard yesterday. She claims to have witnessed a range of artists, as well as Universal staff, partaking in casual drug use – and was reportedly told that if Maroon 5’s Adam Levine wanted to “come to the lobby and do a line of cocaine on the floor”, he could damn well do it.
The fact that under State law in Santa Monica marijuana is legal with a medical card, and the police are generally relaxed with personal use , may dent some of her claims of the distress caused by the odours emanating around the building. But the security guard also claims that she was on the receiving end of racial slurs, and found “bras hanging in the studio and people being found passed out in the showers after partying and drug use, as well as “condoms plastered in the men’s bathroom while on patrol”. During a T.I recording session with Future, one of T.I’s bodyguards refused to move his car, reportedly telling her “I gotta be able to get this boy outta here if a shootout or something goes down”, and when YG and his crew were in the building, she was told to be on the look-out for firearms.
After raising concerns, the lawsuit claims her employment was “constructively terminated”. The full list of allegations include “discrimination, retaliation, being subject to unsafe work conditions, harassment and infliction of emotional distress”.