Lydia Loveless Says She Was Sexually Harassed By Partner of Record Label Co-Owner
Singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless has opened up about past sexual harassment she says she experienced from a man named Mark Panick, the domestic partner of Nan Warshaw, co-owner of Loveless' record label, Bloodshot Records. As a result, Warshaw has decided to step away from the label, she announced on social media.
Loveless shared the details of the harassment she experienced on Sunday (Feb. 17), after alluding to the incidents in a tweet about the allegations of misconduct by singer-songwriter Ryan Adams published in the New York Times on Wednesday (Feb. 13). In a post to Instagram, Loveless writes that she considers those at Bloodshot Records, the label she signed with at 19 years old, "a fun and creative group of mostly good people" -- but, Panick "has long been a source of strife for me."
Although Panick is not and has not ever been employed by Bloodshot Records, "[f]rom the day I started a relationship with the label, he was a part of all social events," Loveless writes -- and it was at those events and elsewhere that Loveless experienced multiple instances of "casual predation."
"For years, he would great me with a rub to the ass and a close whisper in the ear ... He friended me on Facebook and left comments that would elicit texts from friends -- Who is this person? Are you OK?" Loveless recounts. "In one instance, he approached me ... and, while resting his hand between my buttcheeks, told me he loved my messy hairdo because it reminded me of the way girls' hair in high school would look after they blew him."
Loveless says that she didn't know who to tell about what was happening -- "shows are work events and Mark was a part of the label from my eyes," she explains -- so she endured the mistreatment. She notes that after Bloodshot Records co-owner Rob Miller witnessed some of Panick's actions, Miller told Loveless to alert him if she ever felt uncomfortable. Label staff later had Panick banned from events "a couple years ago," and Loveless says she has not seen him since, except once by accident, and they did not speak.
"I don't think Bloodshot has maliciously encouraged this behavior but instead quieted it to protect their brand," Loveless writes.
Later on Sunday, Miller shared his own statement about Loveless' allegations. On Instagram, he admits that while he "disagree[s] with certain characterizations" in Loveless' post, "the story is essentially, and sadly, true." Miller goes on to explain that Bloodshot Records has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, and encourages both employees and artists to report any incidents; however, because Panick has never been part of the label, "he is ... not someone I can fire."
According to Miller, as soon as Loveless shared her encounters with Panick with him, he "addressed it IMMEDIATELY, demanding it end in no uncertain terms," forbidding Panick to contact Loveless in any way and banning him from events. However, Miller admits, "I realized I had failed in not recognizing that one of our artists was made to feel uncomfortable by someone."
"Not seeing the behavior disrespected her immensely," he continues, later adding that he feels "shame, humiliation and rage" about the situation. "I knew that if I did not become part of the solution, I was part of the problem ...
"To know that I did not see her discomfort as it was happening is something that I will forever regret," Miller adds. "I have also learned a great deal about the larger problem and how I fit into it in the process. I can assure everyone, it will not happen again."
However, Miller notes that he disagrees with Loveless' statement that Bloodshot Records tried to cover up the harassment she experienced: "I have encouraged her to be frank and forthcoming about it all," he writes. "I did not feel it was our place to go public with this until she was ready."
On Monday morning (Feb. 18), Loveless and Miller's statements were followed up by a statement from Warshaw, announcing that she is stepping away from Bloodshot Records. Warshaw says Loveless' story "has been a weight on my heart," and that she is "relieved" that Loveless is now discussing it publicly.
"I apologize for any hell or even awkwardness I put Lydia or anyone through, due to my actions or inactions," she writes. "I never, ever would want to put anyone i[n] physical or emotional danger or in a situation that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
"I can't change the past, but I will continue to work to make our little community a safe and welcoming place," she concludes. "I want nothing hidden."
Loveless, an Ohio native, signed with Bloodshot Records before releasing her sophomore album, 2011's Indestructible Machine. Her last project was 2017's Boy Crazy and Single(s), and, in 2016, she was the subject of a documentary, Who Is Lydia Loveless?, from Gorman Bechard.
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