Benee's manager Paul McKessar sorry for 'crossing boundaries', gives back Aotearoa Music Award

Benee's manager Paul McKessar has issued an apology for his behaviour towards two singer-songwriters he represented, relinquishing his Aotearoa Music Award for Manager of the Year 2020. 

McKessar was named in a Stuff #MeTooNZ investigation alongside Lorde's former manager Scott Machlaclan, who admitted to sexually harassing female staff and colleagues over several years. Warner Music confirmed he had been let go this week. 

Two local musicians, Possum Plows and Lydia Cole, both told Stuff they felt their relationships with McKessar, while consensual, were governed by a power imbalance that wasn't appropriate. 

In a statement posted on Instagram, McKessar said that he was "truly sorry for the pain" he caused Plows and Cole. 

"There's no excuse for crossing professional boundaries," he added. 

"I am continuing the personal work required to be a better and more accountable member of the music community. 

"I also appreciate it shouldn’t take a brave stance to enact change, and I hope theirs brings more progress to our entire community. I wholeheartedly apologise to them both." 

McKessar also apologised to the Music Managers Forum for "not meeting their code of conduct" and said he had given back his Managers award. 

Last week, he told Stuff he would not comment on a "consensual relationship" that had been part of his "private life". 

Stuff reports that McKessar later emailed Cole with an apology, but had not yet been in touch with Plows. Both musicians said they felt McKessar's public apology was "performative". 

McKessar's business partner Campbell Smith shared a statement on Instagram on behalf of CRS Management in which he acknowledged the company "had not always met the standard" for providing a safe environment for their clients. 

Smith said CRS would "engage independent advisors" to help "strengthen company culture and refine policy and processes" to improve. 

Benee has not yet commented on her the controversy surrounding her manager.