Indie singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm has accused Michael Gira, longtime leader of the band Swans, of raping her while she was signed to his Young God record label in spring 2008.
Grimm published the claims on her Facebook page yesterday (Feb. 25). According to the post, Gira raped Grimm after she had fallen asleep following a night of heavy drinking while at dinner with friends. The singer-songwriter had been living with Gira and his wife while Gira produced her album Parplar.
Over the months that followed, Grimm says Gira frequently propositioned her for sex, which she refused. She claims a pattern of sexual harassment continued throughout the promotion of Parplar, which involved touring with Gira. Before beginning work on a follow-up album, Grimm was dropped from Young God. Grimm says this came after she confronted Gira about the alleged rape.
Hours after Grimm’s post, Gira responded via his own Facebook page. “I am completely shocked myself,” he wrote. “This is a slanderous lie. I will respond vigorously to defend my name against this horrible slur.”
His wife, Jennifer Gira, published a separate post in protest of Grimm’s account. At the time of the alleged incident, Michael Gira was married to Siobhan Duffy.
“I’ll make some kind of full statement soon after I speak with my attorney,” Michael Gira followed on his own page.
Larkin, a 34-year old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, followed Parplar with Soul Retrieval, her most recent record, in 2012.
Gira, 62, has fronted Swans since 1982. Since 1990, he has released their music (most recently 2014’s To Be Kind) through his own Young God Records.
Billboard has reached out to reps for both Larkin and Gira for further comment.
Below, find a comment Grimm provided to Pitchfork, followed by the Facebook posts from Grimm, Michael Gira and Jennifer Gira.
I am not in this for vengeance. I am not angry. I do not want Michael Gira to have his life destroyed. If one in four or five women has been raped, we have to acknowledge the possibility that one in five men might be rapists. What are we going to do with them all? Send them to jail for 10 years and cut off their dicks? NO. It is the whole culture that has to change. We have created this epidemic of harassment and disrespect and violence together. We have to end it together.
On her Facebook page, Grimm explained what inspired her to post the Gira account. “I experienced a traumatic incidence of sexual harassment in my band Heroes are Gang Leaders on February 6th and 7th,” she wrote. “I saw [bandleader Thomas Sayers Ellis], whose sexual advances I had been calmly brushing off for months, abuse his girlfriend in front of 12 band members at Rutgers University in Newark on the night of February 6th.” After confronting Ellis, she says she was “verbally abused and threatened” in front of an audience just prior to a concert in Brooklyn the following night, and then removed from the band.