Annabel Ross: “Carl Craig Banned Me from Reviewing Movement Festival”

by | Jun 16, 2022 | Culture, Stories | 0 comments

Movement Music Festival 2022 marked a long-overdue homecoming for electronic music fans from across the globe. Detroit techno politics appear to have overshadowed the festivities for Annabel Ross, however.

The Australian journalist, whose coverage of Erick Morillo‘s sexual assault case won a 2021 Drum Award, says that her arrangements to formally review the festival fell through in the 11th hour. “I was supposed to be writing about Movement Festival for Mixmag but a couple of days ahead of the festival I got a call from my editor,” she writes in a Medium blog post. “Movement had told him I could no longer review the festival. [Carl] Craig had given the festival an ultimatum — him or me. If I was allowed to review the festival, he wouldn’t perform.”

In November 2020, Ross had followed up her coverage of the Morillo case with two investigative reports on allegations of sexual assault involving seminal Detroit techno figurehead Derrick May. Craig, a second-wave Detroit techno artist who played a key role in the festival’s debut as Detroit Electronic Music Festival, has drawn criticism from Ross for openly defending May in social media posts.

Selector has reached out to a spokesperson on behalf of Movement promoter Paxahau for comment. They have yet to respond at the time of writing.

May is one of the artists most closely associated with Detroit techno’s first wave; his and Thomas Barnett‘s single “Nude Photo” predates the genre’s definitive 1988 compilation Techno! The New Dance Sound of Detroit. Craig came up under May’s tutelage, learning how to produce and engineer music from their time working together.

On Thanksgiving Day 2020, sports writer Michael James began an ongoing series of Facebook posts accusing May of various forms of sexual assault. After Morillo’s death, women started to come forward with similar allegations. AwakeningsParis Electronic Week, and Paxahau themselves are among the event organizers to remove May from their lineups as a result of the controversy.

Ross, who still visited Detroit and attended Movement Music Festival 2022, says that local artist Omar S also made a jab at her. She writes that she introduced herself to him after seeing him perform at Marble Bar, only to find a photo of May superimposed over her face in a group photo that he apparently uploaded to Instagram and then later deleted.

Derrick May appeared in a documentary on the origins of Detroit techno titled God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines that debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Saturday, June 11th. The sexual assault allegations are briefly mentioned at the end of the film.

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