The Spice Girls singer voiced her disappointment in a statement to The Independent – saying that she feels let down by the decision to have a singer convicted of abuse being eligible to win a BRIT Award.
It comes after Meighan was among the acts included on the form for the voting academy for the 2024 edition.
Meighan parted ways with the Leicester group in July 2020, shortly before being charged with assaulting his partner Vikki Ager – who he married the following year. He was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.
The BRIT buzz comes following the release of his solo album, ‘The Reckoning’, and he is eligible for Album of the Year, British Rock/Alternative Act, and Artist of the Year at next year’s ceremony.
“I am deeply disappointed that an organisation so highly respected within the music industry should make a choice like this,” Mel B told the outlet.
“You have to think what kind of message are you sending out to people when crimes of violence against women can be committed and then that person could be rewarded as part of a massively high profile awards event. It’s shocking to me.”
Mel B’s comments against Meighan come following years of work campaigning against domestic violence. She has also voiced her own experiences of alleged abuse in the past – sharing claims of domestic violence during her marriage to Stephen Belafonte in her memoir Brutally Honest. Belafonte has repeatedly denied the claims against him, and the two reached a private settlement in 2017.
“I am not only a Patron of Women’s Aid but I have just completed three new chapters of my book, Brutally Honest, which charts my journey through abuse and the six years it has taken me to deal with the trauma of that abuse,” she added. “I am still dealing with that trauma and I know I am not alone.”
The comments also coincide with the news that rapper Slowthai – who is currently facing two charges of rape – is eligible to win Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act at the BRITS 2024 with his latest LP ‘UGLY’.
Over the summer, the artist – whose real name is Tyron Frampton – appeared in court following the charges, and denied all allegations made against him. He is accused of raping a woman twice in September 2021 and is due in court next year.
“The BRIT Awards condemns any form of sexual violence or harassment,” a spokesperson for the awards told The Independent in response to Mel B’s comments.
“We also believe in the rule of law and due process. Artists become eligible based on their musical impact in the previous 12 months,” it continued. “Members of the 1,200 strong BRITs Voting Academy (drawn from across the music industry and media) are then invited to make informed decisions to create the shortlist of nominees, and the eventual category winners. The Voting Academy is reviewed annually, as are the eligibility rules.”
According to the outlet, the BRIT Awards voting rules state that the organisation “strongly supports the principle of artistic freedom of expression”, however “reserves the right […] to deem ineligible any artist(s) or recorded music product(s) which it considers either may breach the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and/or that may bring the BRIT Awards into disrepute”.
A spokesperson from Women’s Aid disagreed with the stance, however, and told The Independent that the inclusion of those accused of abuse “sends a message to those living with the trauma of experiencing these crimes that they are not taken seriously by society, particularly the music industry.”
“I did something I will never forgive myself for: I physically assaulted my now wife Vikki in [a] row fuelled by alcohol. It was totally unacceptable,” he wrote, claiming the attack took place after he “hit rock bottom”. “In fact, it makes me feel sick every time I think about it.”
Speaking with Cornwall Live back in 2020, Ager also shared a response, saying: “He apologises daily. He really does. A lot of people have arguments and ours got taken to an extreme level. I gave as good as I got. We were both fighting. We were really drunk and I don’t normally drink. It was more of a squabble, it wasn’t domestic violence.
“Mental health played a massive part in it, and a lack of support for mental health. Tom isn’t that person and I don’t think Tom was himself for a long time. He’s not a violent person. He’d never done anything like that before.”
Since parting ways with Kasabian, Meighan has been releasing music and touring as a solo artist. Most recently, he was booked as support for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds show in Birmingham last Friday (15 December).
For help, support and advice regarding domestic abuse, visit Refuge here or call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
For help and advice on mental health:
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