Orchestra boss is convicted of paying for sex

Orchestra boss is convicted of paying for sex


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2021

A director of a leading orchestra in Sweden has been fined 35 000 SEK(£3,000) for buying sexual services several times from a Romanian prostitute in the centre of town. The offence falls under Sweden’s  Sex Purchase Act.

The man’s name has been removed from the orchestra’s roster.

His identity is well known and his music career is in jeopardy.

Read here.


  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    If the reporting is accurate, then this was most likely consensual, so this is more like a step in the right direction for the industry considering how many abusers we’ve had to give boot over the last few years.

  • Jim says:

    Wow, that’s awful that someone could lose their job for participating in a consensual transaction between two adults.

    • Chicagorat says:

      These sensitive matters are intricate legal conundrums. Ethical lines are often blurred.

      Hypothetically speaking, what would it look like if the “services” were rendered in the context of an orchestra boss-subordinate relationship shaped by asymmetrical power relationships?

      You have the service. You have the financial transaction. You may have the sexual harassment.

      Such hairy situations are more common than people think.


    • V.Lind says:

      Rightly or wrongly, it is illegal in Sweden. However: so is buying (and actually using) certain drugs. Would a conductor be fired for having been found guilty of either? I imagine the legal remedy in either case is fines, and possibly some sort of injunction against doing it again with the risk of further penalty, but the Orchestra’s decision seems to be based upon a current moral stance.

    • Karl says:

      The views on consent to sex for women are evolving. Any type of coercion negates consent, so paying for sex is a type of coercion and that degrades women.

      These Swedish laws on sex work is called the Nordic Model and it is spreading all over the world, so people better get used to it. Here is the list from Wikipedia of countries that have adopted it:

      Sweden (1999)
      Norway (2009)
      Iceland (2009)
      Canada (2014)
      Northern Ireland (2015)
      France (2016)
      Ireland (2017)
      Israel (2018)

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        Oh, Karl! And if he were paying for the services of an homosexual male prostitute would you be saying the same thing? I very much doubt it.

        If we women are free, we are also free to exchange money for sexual services.

  • john says:

    I don’t understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. George Carlin.

    So long as it was consensual.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Sadly, for many prostitutes, especially immigrants, the consent is solely between the pimp and the John. The woman (man or child) is merely a traded commodity. (They’re not like freelance musicians…)

      I favor legalizing prostitution, but not condoning the abusive conditions that exist in most countries. It is not a simple matter of buyer and independent seller.

      Totally a separate matter from sexual abuse in the workplace.

      • BRUCEB says:

        If it was legalized, then it could be regulated: working conditions, health checks, etc. — even pay (to make sure the “providers” aren’t just trafficked/ enslaved).

        Employers (pimps) could still cheat to get around the rules, but at least there would be rules to get around; and any ethical employers wouldn’t be opposed/ have anything to hide.

    • Saxon says:

      You can’t sell the right to be murdered, or sell yourself into slavery. There are lots of things that it isn’t legal to sell, even if the two parties want to make the deal.

  • Phillip says:

    If he had run off without paying…then I would be upset>

  • Colin says:

    So, Mr Nameless Cultural Director, you like the girls?

  • Maria says:

    And a partridge in a pear tree… what’s new!

  • I going to guess the career arc of the Romanian woman involved is also less than she had dreamed of.

  • LP says:

    In Sweden, buying sex is illegal (but selling sex isn’t). He should’ve gone over to Denmark, where both are perfectly above board.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Danish people have been revealed as the most happy population in the world. At least, that is what they find themselves. But what is Denmark’s great cultural contribution to Europe’s cultural field? With so much simple pleasure available, culture looses some of its motivation.

  • John Carino says:

    So, if this were to happen in Germany or any other country, where the prostitution is legal, this would be not a big deal at all. Firing a conductor for this is definitely an overreaction in my opinion. He should have just done it in a different country. Next time worth a short flight elsewhere 🙂

  • BigSir says:

    No reason to fire him. Having him pay, in effect, a sex tax to the government is punishment enough, though I favor no punishment at all.

  • Rich Patina says:

    One way or another, we all pay for sex.

    • Sharon says:

      I agree!

      However the overwhelming majority of prostitutes are coerced into it , either by being trafficked by some pimp or by having no better alternative employment available. The Richard Holmen blogger put it best

      This is the reason Sweden punishes customers. Prostitutes generally are in it not because they have a choice but because they do not have choice, not a choice that they say as viable at any rate. This is why they are not considered morally guilty.

      Not so for the customer, he (or she) has a real choice.

      The hope is that by punishing the customer the market for it will end and their will be less exploitation of immigrants, impoverished women (and men), and others in difficult straits who resort to this “profession” where their bodies are objectified.

      I made a comment about yesterday about how certain types of ballet objectify women’s bodies. I understand that in the nineteenth century in France wealthy men who contributed to the ballet had a choice of the ballerinas that they wanted as a mistress. The ballerinas did not really have the right to refuse.

      In the original story on which the opera La Boheme was very loosely based Mimis was one of group of women who lived (mainly as just friends) with artists in the neighborhood of La Boheme in their between affairs as mistresses of wealthy men as the artists were more accepting of the women’s lifestyle.

      When Mimi became sick her friends started looking for another sugar Daddy for her. Unfortunately she was too sick and she ended up dying in a “hospital” which, like the hospice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was really just a place where poor homeless people went to die.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    One of the most popular ever TED talks was a woman who came out and announced she was a sex worker. Then talked through the service she was offering the world

  • John Borstlap says:

    I first read ‘playing’ which seemed more likely.

  • BRUCEB says:

    Ethics aside, the fact is that paying for sex is illegal in Sweden. It may be a ridiculous law (like marijuana in the US), but there it is. He knew what he was doing was illegal, and he probably knew that his employment would be in jeopardy if he was ever convicted of a crime.

    Since reckless disregard for consequences seem to be a firmly rooted component of human nature, we shouldn’t be surprised that he went ahead and did this anyway.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Firmly ‘rooted’? Mmm. I’d say he was probably desperate. That’s how I’m reading it anyway.

      Studies in Australia conducted over the years by a mens’ advocate suggest that the majority of men get little to no sex after a few short years of marriage. I believe it.

  • Maurice says:

    In the centre of which town? (Well, I know no Swedish, but it appears from the link to have been Göteborg.)