Teenage rock trio Kalliope Jones recently performed as a part of the Tri-County Fair in Northampton, Massachusetts, and came in third place. That’s not the problem, though: The problem is that one of the three judges—the only one who was male—docked the band points in the “stage presence/showmanship” category and told them, whose members are all female and range in age between 14 and 16, that they should “use the sultry to draw in the crowd.” The band took to Facebook to respond to the remarks, with bassist Amelia Chalfant writing, “A woman’s sex appeal, or anyone’s for that matter, should not be the defining factor in their success in the music industry, and in addition to that, WE ARE CHILDREN! WE ARE 14-16 YEARS OLD,” and drummer Alouette Batteau remarking, “The fact that they made these glaring and crude, sexist and stereotypical notes about our performance was made worse by the fact that they did so while drinking beer, blowing their bloated beery breath in our faces. It was astonishing, revolting and VERY offensive. We are grateful to have ranked among the top three performers (who, by the way, besides us, were all boys), but to be judged on our sex appeal and told that we need to be more sexy in order to make it as musicians goes against everything we have been taught.”
You can find the judge’s score sheet below, courtesy of Vanyaland:
The band has since issued a follow-up statement, commenting in part, “We wish to be judged solely on our musicality, and not on our appearance or sexual appeal. We understand that the judges may not have even realized that what they said was sexist; it’s just what many define the music industry as these days. Our goal is to educate people who think this, and change the paradigm.”
When reached for comment via Masslive, president of the fair’s Board Of Directors James Ryan said he was unaware of the controversy because he doesn’t use Facebook, before later remarking that the judge’s comments were “completely unacceptable.”
Here’s Kalliope Jones performing earlier this year at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts.