Renaat Vandepapeliere of R&S Records Defends Practices in Open Letter

by | Nov 12, 2020 | Culture, Stories | 0 comments

R&S Records suffered fallout last month following label boss Renaat Vandepapeliere‘s September dispute with one-time signee Eddington Again. Vandepapeliere had apologized following the incident – an email exchange over a royalty dispute in which he made remarks deemed racially insensitive by many – but he has now written an open letter defending himself and the brand from subsequent accusations.

The letter, which was published by Iconic Underground Magazine, began with Vandepapeliere reemphasizing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and stating that R&S does not condone racist behavior. He went on to revisit an email to Eddington Again in which he referred to a prospective artist as a “full pure breed black artist,” maintaining that because English is his second language a harmless Dutch idiom was lost in translation (although Resident Advisor notes that native Dutch speakers have disputed this claim).

“Whilst not looking to diminish this incident in any way I would like to reiterate, as I said at the time, that English is not my first language and that my choice of metaphor did not translate well from the original Dutch,” Vandepapeliere wrote. “I regret that and take full responsibility for any upset caused.”

“I would only like to add that the sentiment, when heard in the original context is positive, complimentary and in no way negative,” he went on. “I did not say these things with hate in my heart nor was it my intention for those words to be discriminatory in any way.”

Vandepapeliere went on the offense in the next part of the letter. “Other accusations have been also been levelled at myself and R&S Records by a former company consultant who has taken to social media to make a number of serious and unsubstantiated claims, which have subsequently been picked up by other media outlets,” he wrote.

The consultant in question is presumably Raj Chaudhuri, who stepped down from his role as A&R for R&S Records following the incident. In a statement, he aired skepticism that Vandepapeliere could correct his perceived problematic behaviors, including his positions on racial equality, diversity, and charity initiatives.

“Our arrangements with that consultant have since been terminated  following his threat to issue an open letter to the media accusing us of discriminatory behavior if we did not pay him outstanding fees he claimed were due to him,” wrote Vandepapeliere. “We considered this behavior tantamount to blackmail and even though we paid the outstanding balance of the fees he was due he still went to the media with serious allegations against us.”

Vandepapeliere went on to write that he is pursuing legal counsel to deal with the “serious and unsubstantiated claims.”

Vandepapeliere founded R&S Records alongside his partner, Sabine Mays, in 1984. The label has given a home to definitive releases by the likes of Aphex Twin and Joey Beltram, cementing its legacy in electronic music’s more experimental side.

Spokespeople on behalf of Chaudhuri and R&S Records did not immediately respond to Selector‘s request for comment on clarification in regards to the alleged royalty dispute.

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