Swedish Government Thinks Festival for Women Discriminated Against Men

Statement Festival. Photo: Frida Winter/AFP/Getty Images

Presenting a lesson in how to completely miss the point: Sweden’s government has declared it unlawful that a festival created by and for women didn’t want any men. The inaugural Statement Festival, held in August, was promoted as the world’s first festival “completely free from cis men,” inviting only people who identify as “women, nonbinary, and transgender” for both the lineup and the audience. Festival organizers said it was a statement against the rampant sexual harassment and abuse against women that occurs in festival culture. (In 2016, more than 27 sexual assault cases were reported at a single Swedish music festival.)

Now, after a months-long investigation, Sweden’s Discrimination Ombudsman has found that the festival’s rhetoric breached a gender-discrimination law by “discouraging a certain group from attending the event,” despite also finding that the festival did not enforce a “man free” policy at entry and being unable to prove anyone was actually discriminated against. As such, the festival won’t be penalized. Statement has responded with exactly the statement you’d imagine:

It’s sad that what 5,000 women, non-binaries and transgender [people] experienced as a life-changing festival made a few cis men lose it completely. The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need and the DO’s verdict doesn’t change this fact. Otherwise, we have no comments. We are busy changing the world.”

Meanwhile, the Swedish government is busy worrying about men.

Sweden Is Mad Festival for Women Didn’t Invite Men