The co-founder and artistic director of Toronto’s Wavelength Music Festival is stepping down following recent allegations of abuse that have surfaced against him online.
As NOW reports, the organization’s 10-member board of directors has called for an independent investigation into allegations against Jonathan Bunce (a.k.a. Jonny Dovercourt) made by Dorice Tepley, a former Wavelength volunteer-turned-employee who was dismissed from the organization in 2015.
“We are committed to having an outside unaffiliated person conduct an inquiry as to what happened and the appropriate action,” board president Dean Williams told NOW. “While that’s happening, the organization has asked Jonathan to step down to allete any concerns that artists or any community members might have about these allegations.”
In a series of Facebook posts published over the Canada Day long weekend, Tepley wrote to performers, sponsors and local industry parties asking them to reconsider their involvement in this year’s forthcoming Camp Wavelength event, which will go ahead as planned.
“If you believe me, don’t go. If you believe victims, don’t play, don’t go,” Tepley wrote in one now-deleted Facebook post. “Protect yourselves. Don’t let this abuser use your talent for his own ego and gain!”
Tepley alleged that Bunce bullied her and isolated her from others during her time with the organization.
No allegations of sexual or physical abuse were levelled against Bunce.
“He made me feel dumb. He made me feel like shit about myself because I was me,” she wrote. “He turned what friends I thought I had against me. That’s all I can share because the rest is too traumatic.”
Tepley’s allegations led to Polaris Music Prize-winning artist Lido Pimienta speaking out in a public statement of her own. Pimienta, who played a festival event in 2014, alleged unfair treatment and compensation as an artist, writing, “even as I started in the scene I valued my work and could recognize a gatekeeper/opportunistic/weasel right away from my years in music industry.”
UPDATE (7/5, 1:50 p.m. EDT): In response to the Now article, Pimienta has taken to Facebook to provide a follow-up post, which you can read at the bottom of the page.
Williams told NOW that Wavelength’s finances were in the red the year Tepley was dismissed, adding, “there was a financial element to her dismissal, but it was also performance related.”
Tepley, who is currently based in Winnipeg, told NOW in an emailed statement that she will not seek legal action against Wavelength.
“I’ve done all I can do for now. I have to put my health first. I will put my story out there more when I feel comfortable,” she told the publication. “I am disappointed with the scene. They have to help themselves because I am done.”
The 2018 edition of the organization’s Camp Wavelength event, set to take place August 18 and 19, is scheduled to go on. NOW reports that the board is also planning a town hall event for community members to voice their concerns.
Bunce declined to comment to NOW‘s report, referring questions to Wavelength’s board.
He co-founded the Wavelength music series in 2000. For a decade, Wavelength held weekly showcases in Toronto before branching out to host special events and festivals. The not-for-profit started the outdoor summer music fest Camp Wavelength in 2014.