An employed, married local couple have been refused an apartment rental after the landlord discovered the husband played in a heavy metal band. Music documentary filmmaker Sam Dunn (see Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey) will be delighted to learn that educating the masses about metal remains a growth business.
Michael Crossley, bassist with Toronto rockers Vilipend and wife Lara Crossley had apparently reached a verbal agreement with the property owner, identified only as Suzanne by Classic Rock Magazine. But Suzanne changed her mind after Googling Mike and discovering more about his musical proclivities.
In an email Lara Crossley shared in her blog, Suzanne told the Crossleys: “We were quite ready to make a decision in your favour the other night. However, upon investigation of the band Vilipend, it has brought forward some concerns for us. We are uncomfortable with the energy that this music manifests.”
Mike Crossley tells Classic Rock he didn’t anticipate being “so poorly misjudged” for his transparency when applying for the rental. He adds, “The point is not that a couple of twenty-somethings missed out on a decent apartment.
“If Lara and I were discriminated against as a dual full-time income, Caucasian, middle-class, heterosexual couple with good references and credit checks, imagine the difficult somebody who doesn’t have those advantages must experience.
“Anyone who isn’t ‘comfortable with the energy this music manifests’ to the extent they’re making business and life decisions around it should watch the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey to help them understand.”
Ha ha... indeed. In her blog post “Too metal to pay rent” Lara Crossley adds: “This has been very heartbreaking for the both of us. On two occasions we were told by the landlord, in writing, that we were the strongest applicants and that she had little to no reservation in renting the apartment to us.
“Her decision to deny us the apartment based on the fact that Mike’s artistic outlet is accessible using Google was offensive, and completely infringed on our privacy.”
Meanwhile over at the band’s official website, the growing story is being met with some uncertainty and the group appears eager to shift attention away from the rental story and towards the business of making music.
“We have many great things coming up in August (a new record, a tour with Meek is Murder, etc.) and would much rather discuss any of them or the actual music we make and play. While we will not shy away from discussing this incident, any of the issues it has raised or how people into aggressive music can be unfairly judged, the point was never to garner sympathy or press, but purely express astonishment at the situation.”
Suzanne had not replied to requests from Classic Rock for a comment.
I am pretty sure there is a long line of renters with similar stories to tell, especially in a city like Toronto where condos are going up, like, hourly but decent, affordable rentals are as scarce as pink cats. Landlords have all the power.
On the flipside, this is far and away the most amount of press Vilipend has ever had, so they’d be wise to capitalize on it all they can. Sometimes, the last laugh really is the sweetest.