Michael Jackson’s Guitarist Jennifer Batten Recalls The Sexual Harassment She Faced
Michael Jackson guitarist Jennifer Batten recently joined Guitar World for an interview and opened up about the challenges she faced as a female guitarist.
Being a female artist in the male-dominated music world is challenging for many women. Although they might have extraordinary talent or a successful career, they still face sexism. Besides, many female musicians usually fall behind other male figures in the scene. On the other hand, the music industry expects a woman to show her feminine features and body parts more. For many, this was a key to rise to prominence in the past — some even followed their manager’s instructions and got plastic surgery. Others, however, wanted to come to the forefront with their musical talents.
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Michael Jackson’s guitarist Jennifer Batten revealed whether she felt under the pressure of expectations that demanded her to show her body more. In her response, Batten claimed Michael Jackson’s manager Frank DiLeo harassed her.
According to Batten, DiLeo told him she could get a spread in ‘Playboy Magazine’ after she got the gig with Jackson. The guitarist then said she was horrified after this incident. Batten also remembered DiLeo told her he could pay for plastic surgery to make Batten’s breasts bigger.
Asked whether she was expected to show her body more, Jennifer Batten told Guitar World the following:
“Yeah, I definitely did, and it was at the highest level: Frank DiLeo, who was Michael Jackson’s manager. There were two incidents.
I was already hired, and things were going well. The first time, he goes, ‘Now that you have the gig, I could probably get you a spread in ‘Playboy.’ I was horrified! I thought, ‘What the f*ck are you… I’m a guitar player!’ It wasn’t the pressure. It’s just something coming from his perspective that he thought was a big deal because anybody around him wants to be famous. However, it takes to get there, and I was not of that ilk.
Another time, we were somewhere in Europe at a party, and that bastard came up to me. He looked at my chest and went, ‘You need some tits. I’ll buy them for you.’ I think probably every woman in the industry has run into something like that at some point because it’s a man’s world. Women are making a lot of headway, but overall it’s still a man’s world with a man’s perspective.“
As Jennifer Batten also said, many women in the music industry experience these horrifying incidents because the music world is a man’s world, and it has the men’s perspective. However, many women in the music scene stick together and try to defy these gender stereotypes.