The #MeToo and “Time’s Up” movements gained an unexpected voice this week as country music star Vince Gill opened up about his experiences with sexual harassment during a live performance in Nashville.
“I was in 7th grade, and a young, dumb kid,” he said.
“I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately towards me and was trying to do things that I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” explained Gill. “I was just fortunate that I got up and I ran. I just jumped up, and I ran. I don’t know why. And I don’t think I ever told anybody my whole life.”
Gill, 60, had been performing at the Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday for the Country Radio Seminar when he decided to get personal with the crowd.
“We’re living in a time right now when finally people are having the courage to speak out about being abused,” he told concertgoers. “And I think that’s beyond healthy and beyond beautiful to see people finally have a voice for being wronged.”
The 21-time Grammy winner went on to play an unreleased song of his, titled “Forever Changed,” which was inspired by his experience with sex abuse.
“You put your hands where they don’t belong and now her innocence is dead and gone,” Gill sings. “God was watching and he knows your name / because of you, she’s forever changed.”
The musician first revealed the run-in with his gym teacher in 2014 during an interview with Rolling Stone, but has remained quiet about it ever since then.
“What’s been going on has even given me a little bit of courage to speak out,” Gill said.