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Musicians, Including Best Coast, Accuse Music Publicist Of Sexual Assault
Several musicians have come forward saying that the former CEO and founder of a major music PR and management firm sexually assaulted them.On Monday night, Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors wrote a series of tweets accusing Life or Death PR and Management's Heathcliff Berru of sexually assaulting her "a couple years ago." "He did it in front of 4 of my male friends," Coffman tweeted. "Still makes me so damn mad thinking about it."
In a phone interview with New York Magazine, Coffman says she met Berru at an Unknown Mortal Orchestra concert in Los Angeles and the assault took place a week later in New York.
Soon after Coffman publicly talked about the assault, she received responses from other musicians and women in the music industry who expressed their support and shared their own experiences with Berru, including Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast:
Thank you @Amber_Coffman for bravely speaking the truth. Heathcliff Berru is a scumbag and I'm glad someone finally spoke up.— Best Coast (@BestCoast) January 19, 2016
@motormouthmedia @Amber_Coffman I'm so sad to hear so many women have had this experience w/ him but I'm happy it's being brought to light— Best Coast (@BestCoast) January 19, 2016
Beth Martinez of PR firm Danger Village:
.@Amber_Coffman he repeatedly put his hand down my shirt while driving me home after I told him to stop many times— Beth Martinez. Hero. (@dangervillage) January 19, 2016
@Amber_Coffman also I'm fairly certain I've been roofied by him or members of his crew on more than one occasion— Beth Martinez. Hero. (@dangervillage) January 19, 2016
Yasmine Kittles of Tearist:
Thank you @Amber_Coffman in 2009 he grabbed my ass and then held me down onto my couch as he unzipped his pants &forced my hand on his dick.— TEARIST (@_TEARIST_) January 19, 2016
. @Amber_Coffman I felt humiliated and violated and alone. I told some of he & I's mutual guy friends & no one helped me... My own "friends"— TEARIST (@_TEARIST_) January 19, 2016
. @Amber_Coffman I wanted to speak out, but I was scared- of the backlash, seeming like a victim, of defending myself & having to relive it— TEARIST (@_TEARIST_) January 19, 2016
Others who have spoken out include Gorilla vs. Bear photographer Faith Silva, former MTV VJ Shirley Braha, and musician Roxy Lange, among many others.
In response to the allegations, several musicians on Life or Death's roster have also severed ties with the firm, including Wavves, DIIV, Speedy Ortiz and Kelala.
You can read more of the tweets collected over at Stereogum and Pitchfork.
On Tuesday, Life or Death issued a statement saying that Berru would be stepping down as CEO. "Life or Death has a zero tolerance policy for the type of conduct alleged in today’s on-line postings. We take these allegations very seriously," the statement reads. "The men and women who make up this company do not, and will not, condone or tolerate any conduct described in the on-line postings." Life or Death president Nick Dierl clarified to Stereogum that Berru "will not be involved in the operations at all moving forward."
Other artists represented by Life or Death include Los Angeles' Cherry Glazerr, Killer Mike, D'Angelo, Odd Future and Cloud Nothings.
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