Singer Rebecca Ferguson has spoken out about suffering what she describes as racist bullying within the music industry.
The former X Factor star has opened up about the mental anguish she suffered and abuse that was directed her way during her time in the spotlight.
In a Twitter post that Rebecca, 31, shared, she posted a link to a lengthy piece titled ‘Statement of truth’ that documents a collection of unpleasant incidents from her time as a singer during her post-X Factor period of fame.
She begins the article: ‘I am exercising my human right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression,’ before talking about the ‘systematic bullying’ that goes on.
The reality show runner-up goes on to say about the standards within the industry that appear to encourage suppression and bullying, and how stars have to endure it: ‘They have been laughed at, made to look silly, sniped at by trolls, told to be quiet, and shamefully, labelled attention seeking by all of us! And therefore their suffering and their stories ignored.’
Furthermore, Rebecca went on to describe the pressures and abuses she experienced and how it’s still going on with other people who are not able to speak out for various reasons.
‘On the surface, my career would appear to have been at times a dream come true,’ she said. ‘However, the reality of the abuses I have suffered behind-the-scenes is a completely different tale and one of abuse, bullying and the total misuse of power.’
The Liverpool-born star said she was ‘forced to sign a contract’ and, after she initially refused, was threatened into it: ‘if you do not sign it you will not have a career’.
She also revealed the gruelling day-to-day nature of how she was forced to put on a brave face even when her health was suffering: ‘Things got worse, and over this period I became very ill, I had a physical collapse, and medical staff told me “your body has given up”,’ she said.
‘I then went on to have tests that showed I had pre-cancerous cells. I collapsed three times and started to see and feel myself lose who I was, but still, I felt I had to smile in interviews to maintain how amazing my life was but in actual reality I was unhappy.’
Things, she says, got progressively worse and began to question her purpose altogether, claiming she ‘felt like her life was not worth living’.
Speaking to the trolls who bombarded her with abuse, she says: ‘I wrote to them, saying stop! Please stop! This is going to kill me!’
‘On that same day, they continued to up the [ante] and sent me a barrage of letters and emails.
She speaks about how dark her life became and how unbearable it was from both music professionals pressuring her and how extreme the abuse from trolls was: ‘The abuse turned much worse. I was afraid and broken, how could a woman like me fight this. In the end I had to accept defeat!’
‘The oppression had reached its absolute worst when I was called and told I had to do something that compromised my integrity,’ she said when she was nearing breaking point.
As a mixed race woman, she also revealed how she was racially discriminated against, when the singer was booked for a gig and told she had to partake: ‘I was requested to do a gig and told “They want you because you’re a black face.” You need to do it.” “Nobody gives a s**t about you, what else are you going to do?”‘
And was told that ‘black people are only good for entertaining and running, and not for sitting as [CEOs] of companies’.
She goes on to talk about being ‘discredited’, ‘oppressed or financially bankrupt’ and how ‘systematic abuse continues, and the oppressors remain protected and in power, knowing they have full control, and feeling they are above the Law and the criminal justice system.’
The star speaks frankly about how she’s still suffering these abuses and that despite revealing plenty about the industry she has not exposed everything that goes on within it.
‘I will not be silenced I will not be forced to sign words I do not mean. I will stand true to my convictions I will not be bullied,’ she concluded, adding the #MeToo hashtag underneath.
So far, her Twitter post has had over 4,000 retweets and attracted support from a host of famous famous, such as Lily Allen.
Further to her open letter, Rebecca has followed up by saying: ‘You will no longer attempt to bully or silence innocent people your time has come to an end it stops today!’ and threatens to name and shame the oppressors within the industry.
The singer has also vowed to take the allegations to the police: ‘I will report my allegations today to you hopefully you will give me a legitimate crime reference number! @metpoliceuk and investigate, as it is in the public interest!’
If you need someone to talk to or for further information, visit The Samaritans here.