R&S Records co-founder Renaat Vandepapeliere has been accused of racism and negligence by LA-based artist Eddington Again.
In a series of posts shared to social media last week, Eddington Again, who released an EP on R&S imprint Apollo Records in 2019, outlined an “ongoing dispute” relating to their wanting to terminate their contract with the label.
On 25th September, Eddington shared several screenshots of an email exchange with Vandepapeliere. In the emails, Eddington points to a lack of racial and gender diversity among artists signed to R&S, stating that “Black artists are more disposable to you. You let the women and artist of color ‘pass’ while the white artist stay.”
“I didn’t see R&S or Apollo share anything about black lives matter at all,” they continue. “And as a black artist stuck in a contract on your label I’m offended.”
In his response, Vandepapeliere — who acts as chairperson of the board and head of A&R at R&S Records and Apollo Records — stated that Eddington Again had “no clue what u are talking about”, adding “I hope that I have now found a full pure breed black artist that I can spend my life with in full focus”. Another email from Vandepapeliere reads: “ON top we just signed a new black R&S artist , that’s just amazing…There you go ) I sign music I can find — I don’t sign color mate.”
Vandepapeliere’s comments have faced criticism from within the dance music community, including from a number of artists signed to R&S, such as Special Request and Pariah. His use of the phrase “pure breed black artist”, and his claim that the label doesn’t “sign color”, have been labelled as racist, and dismissive of wider concerns surrounding racism within the industry.
Speaking with DJ Mag, Eddington Again states that their “problems with R&S started about a year and a half ago, when the A&R that introduced me to R&S quit after numerous arguments with Renaat. That was the first time I realised that I needed to part ways with the label. Since then, there have been several times I’ve felt disrespected and disregarded by Renaat and [label manager] Andy Whitaker,” they continue. “I asked numerous times for a termination letter after receiving incorrect splits on late royalty statements.”
During this ongoing dispute, Eddington raised the issue that “since the death of George Floyd and the global uprising for the black lives, R&S has said nothing on the matter. I’ve learned through experience that white silence on racial issues is ultimately violence. I asked Renaat why they would stay silent on such a subject and expressed my concern over the roster’s lack of diversity,” they continue. “I was dismissed, told that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and needed to move on.”
For Eddington Again, “after multiple ignored emails and consistent disrespect, while in conversation with Renaat via email,” Vandepapeliere’s statement about black artists signed to R&S — “I hope that I have now found a full pure breed black artist that I can spend my life within full focus” — is particularly shocking and upsetting. “The fact that Renaat breeds horses, and even has one as the R&S logo, made this comment extra disgusting,” says Eddington.
“On top of the blatant disregard for my concerns, this was the last straw and made me go public. The emails have gone viral and Renaat has failed to dismiss the comment he made, solely justifying it as something lost in translation,” they continue. “It’s 2020 – if you run a record label or work in a culture industry, you should probably be able to read the room — and yet, still no apology or accountability – just instead another attempt to silence me.” Eddington also states that they have been blocked from interacting with Vandepapeliere on Instagram, where the exchange was first posted.
On 26th September, an Instagram post from Eddington Again stated that R&S had “finally” sent a termination letter for their contract on the label. However, a stipulation of the termination letter and a subsequent email, allegedly from “Renaat and his team”, states that their contract would only be ended if they deleted “the post, refrain from saying anything else on the matter on social media or the press.”
An email, reportedly from R&S, reads: “If we are willing to return your recordings to you, it is only right that we receive some goodwill from you too. Accordingly, we would expect you to refrain from continuing to make such allegations and also remove the existing offending posts.”
Eddington Again’s Apollo Records’ EP ‘Damani3’ has since been removed from all streaming platforms, though they have claimed to have heard no more from R&S about the nature of their contract’s termination, or about the ISRC codes required to obtain royalties from streaming services.
In a statement shared with DJ Mag, R&S Records say that Vandepapeliere’s comments “in no way represent the views of Apollo Records and R&S Records” and that the label prides itself “on our rich history of providing a platform for artists regardless of race, gender and sexuality”.
The R&S statement continues: “We will learn from this experience and moving forward we will work harder to remove any conscious or unconscious biases in all aspects of the company.” R&S gave DJ Mag no indication of how this would happen in practise.
When asked by DJ Mag about the email shared on Eddington Again’s Instagram page on Sept 26th, reportedly from R&S — which reads: “If we are willing to return your recordings to you, it is only right that we receive some goodwill from you too. Accordingly, we would expect you to refrain from continuing to make such allegations and also remove the existing offending posts” — R&S did not comment.
R&S state that Eddington Again’s contract has been terminated, and deny withholding ISRC codes.
Read R&S’s statement below:
“Eddington Again released one EP on Apollo Records in June 2019. This was the only release signed from the artist, he was not signed for any further releases due to commercial and creative reasons and we hadn’t been working with him for over one year. Recently he had asked for his EP to be removed from our catalogue but Apollo Records asked him to honour the contract he signed.
Eddington then engaged in emails with Renaat Vandepapeliere where Renaat said some insensitive comments regarding another black artist signed to R&S Records that he will personally apologise for. These comments in no way represent the views of Apollo Records and R&S Records. We pride ourselves on our rich history of providing a platform for artists regardless of race, gender and sexuality. However we will learn from this experience and moving forward we will work harder to remove any conscious or unconscious biases in all aspects of the company.
We sent an email to Eddington on Friday 25th September with a termination letter to so he can have the EP rights back and also started removing his music from the Apollo Records catalogue as the artist requested. We are no way holding back ISRC codes, these are included on his twice yearly royalty statements that he has received prior and previous to going public on social media with this false allegation only needed to ask to receive the codes again.
Eddington Again has had his contract terminated and we have removed his five songs from the Apollo catalogue as he requested. Renaat Vandepapeliere will make a public statement and apology for his comments.”