'Where Is The Respect?': Tina Arena Details Bullying In The Music Industry

23 March 2024 | 8:47 am | Mary Varvaris

“I was in physical shock.”

Tina Arena

Tina Arena (Credit: Kidd Sauve)

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Australian music icon Tina Arena has opened up about the “severe” bullying she’s faced by an unnamed figure in the music industry and revealed why she cancelled dates on her most recent national tour, citing “extraordinary pain” in a new interview.

Joining Yvie Jones on Nova’s Two Girls One Pod podcast, the Chains singer told Jones that she had been “severely bullied”, with the host confirming that the bullying Arena spoke of was in the industry.

“I had a massive bullying incident when I was on stage playing Evita because some person thought that he was entitled enough to speak to me in a fashion that was really not at all called for,” Arena shared. “So, for me, I look at things like that, and I go at a certain point [and ask] where is your respect? Where is the respect?”

Jones responded, “So, playing Eva Perón, who did what she did, and being bullied at the same time in real life. How did you reconcile that, or did you just get on?”

“I took one show off a matinee on a Saturday because I couldn't get out of bed,” Arena admitted. “I was in physical shock.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Arena discussed the reasons behind the cancellation of dates on her recent Love Saves Australian tour – in support of her latest album of the same name.

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“I didn't realise the severity of what was going on,” Arena said. She had flown home after concerts in Sydney and Perth and was in “excruciating pain”.

“I'll never forget it,” she continued. Arena was then hospitalised at Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital and spent six days in the ICU. “My kidney was very close to exploding because it was highly, highly infected. I wasn’t aware of how bad it actually was,” she said.

The singer looked at the doctors and told them that she was on the road and had ten days to recover, to the confusion of medical professionals. “The doctor looked at me, and she said, ‘You can cancel your tour’. I said, ‘I beg your pardon?’ She went, ‘You can cancel your tour.

“She said, ‘You’re going nowhere…’ I think that's a culmination of many years of buildup of extraordinary pain and going through things and trying to work things out.”

You can listen to the remainder of the interview below.

This July, Tina Arena will headline the Birdsville Big Red Bash for the first time alongside Jon Stevens. The festival line-up includes further Aussie music legends, including Ian Moss, Colin Hay, Vanessa Amorosi, Casey Barnes, Fanny Lumsden, and many more.