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Arts and Entertainment

Former Runaways Band Member Says Manager Raped Her When She Was 16

The Runaways (via Flickr)
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Former Runaways bassist Jackie Fuchs says the infamous and abusive former manager of the band, Kim Fowley, raped her when she was sixteen years old.Fuchs, who was known by her stage name Jackie Fox, joined the legendary L.A. punk band (best known for "Cherry Bomb") when she was only fifteen years old after Fowley formed the all-girl teenaged band in 1975. She was given Quaaludes after a 1975 New Year's Eve concert in Orange County and she says Fowley later raped her during an after-party in a motel room, with several of her bandmates witnessing the assault. "I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me," Fuchs told HuffPo.

She says several people witnessed the event, including bandmates Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. Currie says she "spoke up and stormed out of the room," while Jett, through a spokesperson, denied witnessing the events as Fuchs described and said, "it's a matter involving her and she can speak for herself."

Nobody in the band spoke of the rape after it happened, and Fuchs continued to play with the Runaways until she had a breakdown and left in the middle of the band's Japan tour in 1977. Her replacement, Vicki Blue, recalled hearing how the rest of her bandmates would joke about Fowley raping Fuchs. "They would talk about Kim fucking Jackie like a dog," she said. "It was kind of a running joke."

Fowley admitted himself that he targeted vulnerable women, describing his own predatory demeanor in the Runaways biography Queens Of Noise: "I'm like a shark. I'll smell the blood." A personal ad he put in an L.A. zine in 1975 started off with, "If you are eighteen and like it or if you are under 18 and legally emancipated (with paper work) then you may have just stumbled upon the opportunity of a lifetime." A close musician friend of his at the time said they would regularly drive to high schools and hit on teenage girls.

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As a manager, Fowley was known as an abusive, Svengali-type who tormented his troupe of teenaged musicians, but he denied ever sexually abusing the girls, saying this doozy of a denial in Queens Of Noise: "They can talk about it until the cows come home but, in my mind, I didn't make love to anybody in the Runaways nor did they make love to me."

Fuchs says she was unwilling to come out as a rape victim until she saw the number of high-profile cases appearing in the news, including the Bill Cosby allegations, Kesha's lawsuit alleging her producer drugged and raped her, and the recent attention on campus rape. She got in touch with an attorney, hoping to confront Fowley and get an apology. It never happened.

Kim Fowley died in January of this year after a battle with bladder cancer. Currie wrote on Facebook after his death, "You are a genius... you are loved. You will be so missed." Joan Jett tweeted: