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Brooke Fraser’s Management Share Paul McKessar Statement

The statement comes after Fraser thanked McKessar by name during her recent Auckland concert

Brooke Fraser


CRS Management have released a statement about Paul McKessar, who was named in the #metooNZ investigation, after Brooke Fraser thanked him during her recent Auckland concert.

After a seven-year break, Fraser returned to New Zealand for a special one-off show at Spark Arena on Saturday, June 22nd, the Grammy Award-winning artist performing alongside the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) and some special guests, including Georgia Lines.

At one point during the concert, the singer-songwriter specifically mentioned McKessar, who was stood down at CRS Music following his inclusion in an exposé into harassment and abuse of power in the New Zealand music industry in 2021.

“I wanna thank CRS Management… Campbell [Smith] and Paul [McKessar], who are here tonight, have been with me from the very early days,” Fraser told the Spark Arena crowd, which you can watch in a video obtained by Rolling Stone AU/NZ below.

Now, CRS Management’s Campbell Smith has shared a statement explaining the situation from their end:

“In 2021, Paul McKessar was stood down from CRS, while I commissioned an investigation into his behaviour and CRS in general. Ms Gillian Warren – an independent investigator – conducted the investigation, which included the participation of Lydia Cole and Possum Plows.

“Ms Warren followed up with a report in July 2021, which we published, with recommendations and proposed best practices that CRS has followed with absolute exactness.  

Ms Warren’s report recommendations that are relevant here are that CRS should: 

● Require Mr McKessar to undergo treatment or enrol in an appropriate course to address the behaviours that place him at risk of entering intimate personal relationships with young artists, such as his willingness to engage in flirtatious behaviour, and getting intoxicated, either with them or in their presence.

‍● Not reinstate Mr McKessar as a director or artist manager until he can satisfy his business partner that he is no longer at risk of forming such relationships. At that point, CRS Music will need to make a business assessment about the feasibility of Mr McKessar being reinstated to his former roles.

For the years that Paul has been away from CRS, he undertook regular and significant therapy. My hope was that he had the capacity – through this process – to evolve, change and learn. 

I am now quite satisfied that Paul’s behaviours have been thoroughly addressed, and that he is not at risk of forming intimate personal relationships or behaving inappropriately with artists or work colleagues. I’m also satisfied that he has taken full accountability, learned and evolved.  

After his more than 2 years’ personal work and therapy, his consultation with significant industry stakeholders, and in line with Ms Warren’s recommendation, I made a business assessment in 2023 as to the feasibility of Paul’s return to work. My considered assessment was that in the appropriate circumstances, where everyone directly involved is comfortable, including artists, staff and stakeholders, he can return to work in some capacity. He has not been and will not be reinstated as a director of CRS.  

I believe that people can change and that redemption must always be possible. I also believe that other people and entities have their own agency. They can each decide with whom they will work and in what circumstances. 

CRS Management actively participated in the investigation into Mr McKessar and our company, we took all the steps asked of us in the report. Along with our partners in the music industry, we work to ensure a safe workplace in all situations, spaces and circumstances.  

The aforementioned Cole, who spoke out on social media this week about the distress hearing McKessar’s name being mentioned by Fraser caused her, wrote in an Instagram Story: “I finally heard back from Campbell (CRS) in the form of two emails today. He did not ask how I am or show even a basic awareness of any distress caused.”

Cole added in a further Instagram Story that she had several questions following the CRS statement:

“How can we trust Campbell to assess Paul (his best friend) for safety when there is such a glaring conflict of interest here?”

“What was the nature of the assessment made of Paul’s safety? Is this documented?

“Is there evidence that Paul actually stepped away from his roles?

“On what day in 2023 did Paul resume his role?

“Why were victims not informed of Paul’s return to work?”

“The only thing standing between Paul and his position was an assessment conducted by his long-time business partner and friend, Campbell Smith. Maybe he [McKessar] has been rehabilitated and is a totally different person now! But this process is not nearly reliable,” she added

After the scandal broke, McKessar returned the Manager of the Year award he won at the 2021 Aotearoa Music Awards.

As per Stuff, McKessar posted an apology on social media in January 2021. “I am truly sorry for the pain I caused Possum and Lydia. There’s no excuse for crossing professional boundaries,” he wrote.