Metal often gets a bad wrap, a genre that – to the outsider- is often unnecessarily stigmatised as violent and anti-social, as a young couple in Toronto discovered when they refused an apartment on the basis that the husband played in a metal band.
Classic Rock Magazine tells the story of Mike and Lara Crossley, newly-weds who had reached a verbal agreement with the property owner – simply named Suzanne – over an apartment, but were denied occupancy after Suzanne discovering online that Mike played bass in Candian group, Vilipend.
The Crossleys found about their refusal from an email Suzanne sent them, reading:
“We were quite ready to make a decision in your favour the other night. However, upon investigation of the band Vilipend, it has brought forward some concerns for us. We are uncomfortable with the energy that this music manifests.”
Crossley who provides “low end and screaming” in Vilipend, as well as acting as the band’s general manager and booker, said that their denial of the apartment demonstrated that the “world is still full of closed minds.”
He also worried that their refusal marked a terrible precedent, highlighting worse experiences for others who hoped to rent property. “The point is not that a couple of twenty-somethings missed out on a decent apartment,” says Crossley, “if Lara and I were discriminated against as a dual full-time income, caucasian, middle-class, heterosexual couple with good references and credit checks, imagine the difficult somebody who doesn’t have those advantages must experience.”
Crossley adds that he was forthright about his musical background, but he didn’t expect to be “so poorly judged” or that it would ruin his chances of obtaining the apartment. “Honesty is apparently not always the best policy,” said the metal bassist, “you don’t have to give any information you don’t feel comfortable sharing, or you feel you might be judged negatively on.”
Crossley added that people – like Suzanne – who “weren’t ‘comfortable with the energy this music manifests’ to the extent they’re making business and life decisions around it” should self-educate themselves, suggesting the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey was a good place to start to ail their prejudices.
“We fear what we don’t understand,” said Crossley, “I hope we can help to open even one [mind] by bringing this scenario to light – and by showing ourselves to be satisfactory human beings.”
The metal musician’s wife, Lara Crossley, wrote about the incident on her blog in a piece entitled ‘Too Metal To Pay Rent‘. In the article, she calls the situation “heartbreaking” and includes an open letter from her husband to Suzanne, defending their interests as metal fans and writing “it is completely closed-minded and discriminatory… to pass judgement on us in this way.”