Music Publicist Heathcliff Berru Resigns From Life or Death PR After Sexual Harassment Accusations
Heathcliff Berru, founder of Life or Death PR and Management, resigned from the company Tuesday (Jan. 19) after he was accused of sexual harassment by several female musicians and industry figures.
In a long series of tweets on Monday, Dirty Projectors vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Amber Coffman accused Berru of sexual harassment in an incident that took place "a couple" of years ago. Shortly afterward, several other female musicians and music industry figures claimed to have been harassed by him as well.
Was just re-telling/re-remembering a story abt how a very popular music publicist RUBBED my ass and BIT my hair at a bar a couple years ago— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
This was someone I barely knew and had just met. He did it in front of 4 of my male friends. Still makes me so damn mad thinking about it— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
Still mad at myself as well for not punching him in the nose, but I totally froze up. Weird survival instinct I guess— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
It was Heathcliff Berru, at Life or Death PR and MGMT— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
Late Tuesday afternoon, Life or Death announced that Berru had stepped down from his post 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 is 3 men and 3 women who are committed to promoting art and serving the clients that we're so privileged to represent. We are taking measures to ensure that the alleged behavior did not, and will not, make its way into company operations or impact our commitment to promoting art and assisting our clients.
"We are grateful to Heathcliff Berru for all the work he's done to date and his creative vision at the company. We appreciate and support his decision to step down as CEO of Life Or Death."
Earlier today, Coffman said she informed Dirty Projectors' label, Domino Records, of the incident, and the company has since stopped working with Life or Death.
I do want to say that when this first happened, I told Domino records, who were working on projects with him + they stopped working with him— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
(A rep for Domino said the company has “no official comment but stand[s] by Amber and her account,” and referenced the following tweet from Coffman: "Domino records asked me what I wanted them to do at the time- I said I couldn't make that decision for them. They made their own decision.”)
Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Cosentino backed up Coffman's claims on Twitter, thanking her for "bravely speaking the truth... I'm glad someone finally spoke up." Little Empire Music's Christy Merriner said in a tweet: "Sadly had a similar hb experience years ago in brooklyn. sexual harassment is a serious issue, thank you for speaking up." Musician Roxy Lange replied with a lengthy, explicit post sharing her own experience.
Life or Death client Wavves posted a tweet directed at Berru and his company saying they were fired. Life or Death previously represented Dirty Projectors, a Brooklyn-based indie rock band. Its current roster includes Killer MIke, D’Angelo, Of Montreal, and Odd Future.