[This is my weekly music-related piece for Global News. – AC]
As #MeToo allegations against industry figures in the movie and TV industry continue to pile up, some wonder how long it will be before the music industry will be engulfed as well.
To be sure, a cleansing is long overdue and, in some ways, has already begun. Executives like Def Jam Recordings founder Russell Simmons and Republic Records president Charlie Walk are being investigated and are lawyering up on allegations that they abused and assaulted multiple women. Kesha continues to fight a battle involving Dr. Luke while L.A. Reid was forced to step down as the head of Epic Records after being accused of sexual harassment.
Music industry whistleblower Bob Lefsetz has been calling out members of the music establishment with his newsletter, publishing stories of women (and a few men) who have endured indignities, been denied promotions and suffered verbal and physical abuses by men in power. These stories make for sober reading.
Just as that piece was published, the Toronto Star had front page story on the sordid saga of Crystal Castles.
A legal dispute playing out in a Los Angeles courthouse between two Canadian musicians has brought forward a central issue of the #MeToo movement: What rights do women have to speak publicly about their alleged abusers?
Claudio Palmieri, songwriter and producer of Crystal Castles, a band that started in Toronto, has launched a civil lawsuit against the group’s former lead singer, Margaret Osborn, for defamation after she accused him of sexual, physical and psychological abuse on her website in October. He has denied the allegations.
In a written statement to the Star, one of Palmieri’s lawyers, Shane Bernard, said “The truth of the matter is that my client never physically or sexually assaulted (Osborn) and categorically (denies) these false and malicious allegations.”
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Osborn, who goes by the stage name Alice Glass, was sued in November, a little more than a week after she posted her accusations online accusing Palmieri, 40, of abusing her over a period of nearly a decade, starting when she was 15.
Osborn alleges that Palmieri, over the course of “many months,” gave her drugs, alcohol and had sex with her “in an abandoned room at an apartment he managed,” she wrote. “It wasn’t always consensual and he remained sober whenever we were together.”
Toronto Police’s sex crimes unit recently confirmed they are investigating Palmieri, also known by his stage name Ethan Kath. The Star has spoken with three women who say they filed criminal complaints against him. The Star is not identifying the women because they fear Palmieri will sue them and because they allege they are victims of sexual assault.