Jaguar Jonze recounts alleged sexual assault on ‘The Project’

"You start thinking about survival in a very small music industry"

This story contains discussion and descriptions of sexual assault and harassment.

Jaguar Jonze appeared on a 10-minute segment on Channel 10 panel show The Project last night (May 11), in which she spoke about her experience of alleged sexual assault and bullying.

Jaguar Jonze – real name Deena Lynch – had previously shared her experiences in a statement in July 2020, in which she also expressed support for survivors of sexual abuse and harassment in the music industry.

“When I was sexually assaulted last year by two producers, I felt alone, ashamed and didn’t know what to do, or where to go,” Jonze said at the time.

In last night’s segment on The Project, the singer-songwriter recounted the alleged assault to reporter Lisa Wilkinson, alleging she had been cornered by the two producers she had been working with while at a nightclub in Brisbane.

“I had spent the entire evening with my friend next to me,” said Jonze. “As soon as my friend left, it was a really quick change of behaviour. They straight away just went for it – grabbing me, being very sexual towards me.”

Jonze says the behaviour worsened as the night went on. “I verbally, constantly, was saying, ‘no, no, no, I do not want to do this at all,'” the songwriter said during the interview.

“Even if I was lining up for drinks at the bar, one of the producers would come up to me and shove their hand up my shirt, underneath my bra, put their hands up my shorts, underneath my underwear when I couldn’t see them. Constantly trying to kiss me, grabbing me, pinning me a pillar so that they could kiss me.”

Jonze alleged that her rejection of the two producers’ advances later led to threats from both of them about her career, telling her not to “sour” their relationship and pressuring her not to speak out in messages Jonze says were sent to her over the course of months.

“You start thinking about survival in a very small music industry, and it silences you. It makes you extremely scared to fight back,” she said.

The Project contacted the producers alleged to have assaulted Jonze, Wilkinson told panelists Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore. “The first said that he was consulting with his lawyer, and the second is strenuously denying the allegations,” she said.

Wilkinson also noted that The Project had been in touch with Queensland Police to corroborate Jonze’s claim of filing police reports against the two men, which the department confirmed.

Watch The Project segment in full below:

The segment came the day after an investigation by The Industry Observer into an alleged rape at BIGSOUND, and a recent study about sexual harassment in the music industries of Australia and New Zealand by Dr. Jeff Crabtree from the University of Technology Sydney.

In his findings, which were reported by TIO, Dr. Crabtree received 145 survey responses and did 33 face-to-face interviews. One of the key findings from the report was an estimated 96 per cent of survey participants had experienced some combination of harassment, assault and gender discrimination.

“These are human beings,” Dr. Crabtree said on The Project. “Their dignity and their humanity is being robbed by selfish men, who are regarding these women as sexual playthings.”

Wilkinson praised Jonze for her bravery, comparing her to former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins and sexual assault advocate Grace Tame – both of whom publicly came forward with their own stories of harassment and assault.

“The bravery of young women… continue[s] to drive change and encourage other young women to come forward,” she said.

“Hopefully, with [Jonze] now adding her voice, the music industry will realise it needs to clean its act up.”