Chile Rimjob Radio Mysteryland Edited PhotoBy now you’ve probably heard about the Chilean woman who won tickets to Mysteryland by performing a sexual act on a radio station DJ. No? Well here’s what went down: Last week the Chilean affiliate of Los 40 Principales–an international Spanish-language top 40 network–asked its listeners what crazy thing they’d be willing to do to win tickets to the country’s premiere electronic music festival (that would be Mysteryland). One woman apparently volunteered to lick whipped cream out of the DJ’s anus–a sexual act known widely as a “rimjob.” The DJ took her up on the offer on air, photos were taken and then tweeted, and the story went viral, stoking outrage in the Americas. The radio station deleted the tweet and has issued a weak apology, while Mysteryland itself is taking some flack–see Thump’s little blurb below (emphasis mine):

Still, Mysteryland itself was not spared from the spin-out, despite its complete lack of affiliation with the contest. The photo briefly landed on the festival’s website thanks to a plug-in that aggregates relevant user-generated social media posts based on tags and mentions.

Should Mysteryland be paying the price for what some renegade and “completely unaffiliated” radio station in Chile is doing to promote its multi-million dollar festival? Is it fair?

Absolutely. And here’s why:

Thump is wrong. It’s no coincidence that Los 40 Principales is promoting Mysteryland in Chile because both are essentially SFX Entertainment enterprises. Yes, SFX, the same company that last year bought a 75% stake in Mysteryland owner/promoter ID&T, announced just last month a “strategic alliance” with PRISA Radio, the Spanish-language radio group that owns Los 40 Principales. The stated purpose of the alliance? I’ll quote straight from the press release (again, emphasis mine):

The partnership will co-promote SFX event brands throughout PRISA Radio’s network of 1,250 broadcast stations, digital properties spanning 12 countries and reaching more than 28 million listeners and online users, and a sales force of more than one thousand people.

Together, PRISA Radio and SFX will develop unique media programs and sponsorship opportunities in Spain, Portugal and Ibero-American countries, including Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Argentina. SFX event brands to be supported through the initial program include Mysteryland, Life In Color, Sensation, Awakenings and Electric Zoo. While current plans are still being formulated, the alliance contemplates presenting a minimum of 20 events over the next few years.

Los 40 Principales PRISA (2)
So SFX struck a “strategic alliance” with the owners of a local radio station in order to better and more widely promote its own events in the region. A DJ from this local radio station then accepted a sexual act from a listener as currency for two tickets to an SFX event. Prostitution may technically be legal in Chile, but this is not proper form for any upstanding international firm, let alone one headquartered in the United States and traded on the NASDAQ (however poorly it trades).

The world of electronic dance music already appears to have a deep misogyny problem, what with the seemingly mandatory scantily-clad female go-go dancers at every show, sexual assaults at festivals (this happened at this year’s US edition of Mysteryland), widely reported demeaning backstage encounters, and the pervasive objectification of women’s bodies to sell the “EDM” product. And even if you’re skeptical of feminist messaging, the fact remains that electronic music festivals have suffered a serious reputational blow over the last year or so as an epidemic of drug-related hospitalizations and deaths have scarred the dance landscape. How much more damage can the scene endure before it begins to deteriorate, and all the money along with it?

SFX needs to step up and take responsibility for this most recent situation. Its CEO, Robert Sillerman, should apologize. If not out of a moral sense of accountability, then out of concern for the reputation and bottom-line of his company and the culture it claims to represent (and strives to monetize). SFX defines its mission as such: “To provide electronic music fans with the best possible live experiences, music discovery, media and digital connectivity.” Does this story out of Chile reflect that goal?

Right now is the time for SFX to demonstrate that it will not accept this type of behavior from its employees or those of its partners. As the world’s self-proclaimed “largest producer of live events and entertainment content focused exclusively on electronic music culture (EMC),” SFX owes itself and us, its customers, awareness and respect: Awareness of the climate in which it operates and respect for the people it serves. As it continues an aggressive expansion strategy, snatching up every recognizable franchise it can afford in the world of dance music, SFX should prove that it can be a good steward of the culture it is consuming. This will be best for the culture, best for its customers, and, yes, best for its shareholders.

An “it won’t happen again” will work just fine, Mr. Sillerman. Pressuring your friends at PRISA Radio to fire the DJ would be even better.

Photo via 40 Principales Chili Official