“It took me a long time to admit that to myself. Years. Michael Gira, my producer, raped me and dumped me from his label when I confronted him about it,” says Grimm.
Singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm has released a statement on Facebook accusing Swans frontman Michael Gira of raping her during the recording of her album Parplar, which was produced by Gira and released on his label Young God Records in 2008.
She also alleges that Gira dropped her from Young God after being confronted about the incident.
Her post includes a show of support for Kesha, and arrives a matter of days after a New York Supreme Court judge ruled the pop singer must remain in her contract with the producer she alleges sexually assaulted and emotionally abused her.
We have reached out to Michael Gira for comment. You can read Grimm’s full statement below.
Update: Gira has issued a statement calling Grimm’s claim a “slanderous lie” and vowing to “respond vigorously to defend my name against this horrible slur. I trust in the intelligence of those who have followed my work and respect me as a person, to know this is NOT the person I am.”
Update 2: Grimm has released a new statement on Facebook saying she will not defend herself “against blind dogs with deaf ears”, while commenting on rape culture and sex education. Read her statement below.
“Im not going to defend myself against blind dogs with deaf ears. I will, however, gladly discuss a thousand ideas for how to change rape culture. Lets start with educating our children about consent. I suspect it will be more helpful than abstinence only education in convincing kids to have sex responsibly. Sex can be so beautiful and fun, but it can also be so cruel, life-destroying, and devastating. Teach them that at 13. See what happens.”
“I have received so many messages in the last day from sweet, confused men asking “I did this thing once that I don’t feel comfortable about. Am I a rapist?” Those messages break my heart as much as the messages from women detailing horrible experiences of rape that they have kept secret.”
Read Grimm’s original statement below.
“I will give you some history about why I am sharing the story about Thomas Sayers Ellis’s abusive behavior now. I didn’t always stand up for myself. Rape is a loaded word. No man wants to be a rapist. It implies cowardice as well as violence. It undermines the sexual power and magnetism that every man would like to have. No woman wants to be known as a rape victim, either. I want to be known for my strength, intelligence, and talent. Not known as a victim. My story with Michael Gira is an absolute tragedy that I have kept secret for too long. I am only speaking of it now because after being accused of “lynching” Thomas, I cannot ethically keep Michael’s secret any longer. He’s a white guy, and his crime was far worse than what Thomas did to me or Margaret.
“Michael Gira and I had a beautiful, fruitful collaboration on my album Parplar. He was my record label boss and producer. He was my beloved, trusted mentor, really my guru. I lived in his house with him and his wife Siobhan and I babysat their daughter frequently in between working on new songs and incorporating Michael’s valuable input. I loved him more than I have loved just about anyone, but I did not want to have sex with him, and I made that very clear over and over. In the spring of 2008, on the night that we finished recording Parplar at Trout Recordings with Bryce Goggin, we went out to eat at a steakhouse. My friend Johnny Dido was our waiter. We were with Michael’s friends and they were drinking heavily and encouraging me to keep up with them. I’m a pretty lightweight drinker. At the end of the night it became obvious that I was too drunk to drive home, too drunk to even walk straight. Michael invited me to stay with his friends. They said they had a bed for me and that Michael would sleep on the floor. I trusted them and agreed.
“At the apartment of Michael’s friends, I crawled into bed without changing my clothes or brushing my teeth. I just passed out. A little later Michael woke me up coughing. He had bad asthma, and sleeping on the floor in the dust was aggravating it. I told him, slurred, half asleep, that he could sleep in the bed, just not to touch me. A little bit later I woke up with his penis inside me, no condom. As I opened my eyes, he said, “Uh, this doesn’t feel right.” and he pulled out.
“The next morning, Michael begged me not to tell his wife about what happened. I drove home, numb. Then I took my bike around the block and got hit by a car, injuring my hip. That day I wrote one of my best songs, “The Butcher, or Without a Body or a Numb and Useless Mind.” It was the last song I would be able to write for a few years. I spent the next 6 months in a suicidal depression. Michael would call frequently to talk about the progress on my record and to talk dirty to me. He would tell me he loved me and that he would leave his wife for me. I would refuse to talk dirty to him and try to bring the conversation back to business. When we met, the interactions were often sexually charged and I would squirm out of them as best I could. We never had sex again although he tried over and over, making me absolutely miserable. Mastering the record with Fred Kevorkian was particularly difficult. Michael took the opportunity to kiss me in the elevator, and I complied because I really, really, really wanted to be a successful musician. He’d often say to me, “I’m gonna make you a star, Larkin. You can trust me.”
“I stuck with this pattern for a long time, through my record release and the tours (with Michael!!) supporting it, but when it came time to write a new record, I found my creativity was totally blocked. I told Michael that he had had sex with me against my will and that I didn’t feel safe with him any more. He then dropped me from Young God Records.
“Many people have assumed, over the years, that Michael and I had a love affair, and in a way, for a time, maybe we did. But I never consented to having sex with him. I wouldn’t have wanted to ruin such an important opportunity that way. Technically, he raped me. It took me a long time to admit that to myself. Years. Michael Gira, my producer, raped me and dumped me from his label when I confronted him about it, needing to feel safe.
“What happened was awful, but as a prison abolitionist, an anarchist, and a nice person I didn’t want to destroy his whole life with a rape charge. Looking back, he didn’t think twice about destroying mine.
“Sending my love to #Kesha I know how you feel. At least I got out of my record deal, though I was never offered another one after that.”