Why People Are Furious With This Music Publicist

January 20th 2016

Laura Donovan

Multiple women in music have taken to social media to accuse music publicist Heathcliff Berru of sexual assault, leading him to step down as CEO of Life or Death PR and Management. Berru managed several well-known artists and bands such as Odd Future, Of Montreal, Kelela, among others (Kelela has since severed ties with the company).

Many have supported the women for highlighting that females in the music industry are often silenced when men at the top abuse their power and take advantage of them.

The accusations.

On Monday night, Dirty Projectors vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Amber Coffman published a series of tweets accusing a "very popular music publicist" of sexual violence, ultimately revealing Berru to be the assailant. Coffman wrote that she was angry with herself for not standing up for herself but that she "totally froze up."

RELATED: What Happened When Kesha Reported Her Sexual Assault

Coffman's tweets inspired more women to come forward with accusations against Berru, including Bethany Cosentino of the band Best Coast, TEARIST's Yasmine Kittlers, Danger Village publicist Beth Martinez, and musician Chelsea Wolfe.

RELATED: A Trend of Sexual Assault Is Happening at Concerts and Nobody Is Talking About It

Roxy Lange, a self-described yoga teacher in training, told Brooklyn magazine that Berru assaulted her during her first week living in New York City:

Lange claims this is what happened:

"He kept trying to force me to give him a blowjob in a cab and wouldn’t stop pushing my head into his lap forcefully, with his pants unzipped and penis out in the open. After I got out of the cab, he followed me up 3 flights of stairs and forced his way into my apartment, attempting to force himself on me but he was luckily too drunk and coked up to get hard so he gave up. He then pissed himself and fell asleep in my bed while I laid there, a very drunk 21 year-old experiencing NY nightlife for the first time and this happened to me."

Lange added that she "wanted to throw up" after running into him and his wife in Los Angeles about a year ago. She added that she initially blamed herself for the sexual assault because she was drunk, but realized this was wrong:

"About a year ago, I ran into him while grocery shopping in Silver Lake with his wife and he hugged me, I wanted to throw up. I repressed this memory for so long and always assumed that I brought this upon myself because I was very drunk that evening but that’s not the case at all. He’s a disgusting, loser scumbag who doesn’t respect women. It pains me to know that there are others out there who have been violated by Berru, it makes me sick to my stomach."

Life or Death PR's response to the accusations.

The company released a statement to Pitchfork stating that it has a "zero tolerance policy for" the behavior Berru has been accused of:

"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."

Berru released his own statement to LA Weekly, writing that while he is sorry if anyone was "offended" by his actions, he never drugged anyone along the way:

"I am deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions and how I have made certain women feel. If I crossed the line of decency or respectfulness in situations when I was drunk and under the influence, there is no excuse of course. To be clear, while my conduct may have been inappropriate, I have never drugged anyone or engaged in that type of behavior. Nevertheless, I do not want to be the type of person who would let drugs or alcohol take command of his life and compromise how he treats people. Yet I have been this person and it’s time to put a stop to all of this. Create a world with one less inappropriate man."

Berru added that has been "fighting a losing battle against drugs and alcohol for many years" and that he intends to go to rehab to clean up his act. He also said that he lost his wife and abandoned his family as a result of his "shameful, embarrassing, unacceptable behavior":

"I deeply apologize to them as well. By no means do they deserve to feel the pain of my actions. Please give them the space they deserve. They were the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I was married during some of these years and hid my problems from everyone well. Especially her and her family. Totally inexcusable."

Many have praised Berru's accusers for confronting him on social media. Rapper Michael Render (also known as Killer Mike), who is managed by Berru's company, stood behind the women and said he chewed Berru out for his actions. Even so, Killer Mike said he still supports Berru as a friend. Render stated that his day to day publicist is Life or Death PR's Duncan Will:

RELATED:The Sexual Violence Problem We Don't Talk About Enough

Singer Kelela wrote on Twitter that she is no longer working with Life or Death PR. Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz also wrote on Twitter that the band is no longer with the company: