Heathcliff Berru, founder of PR company Life or Death, has resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct with artists.

Amber Coffman, best known for her work in Dirty Projectors, accused Berru of harassment in a series of tweets on January 18, saying many women had “scary stories” but are “scared to speak up”.

“Tired of sketchy ass dudes and sexual predators getting a pass from their ‘bros’,” Coffman added. “Grow a spine and hold your friends accountable”.

Several more women then came forward to detail similar claims against Berru, including Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, who said she was “too freaked out to ever say anything” about her own experience.

Faith Silva accused Berru of drugging women, while another artist, Tearist, alleged that Berru had sexually assaulted her, tweeting: “In 2009 he grabbed my ass and then held me down onto my couch as he unzipped his pants &forced my hand on his dick”.

Multiple artists represented by Berru’s company have already responded to the news. Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis said her band had never met Berru or worked him personally, but would not be working with Life Or Death PR any longer. Wavves and DIIV have both publicly fired Berru, and Kelela has also ceased working with Life Or Death.

Last night Berru announced his resignation from Life Or Death PR and released a statement saying he is “deeply sorry” and detailing his “losing battle against drugs and alcohol”.

Read Berru’s full statement below, via LA Weekly.

“There have been several reports about my alleged inappropriate behavior which deserve a response. 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.

“I have been fighting a losing battle against drugs and alcohol for many years and will be checking into a rehabilitation facility in the hope that I can improve my chances of winning that fight. A year ago, I was confronted by a peer and began to try to clean up and make things right with therapy and with an eye towards quitting the addiction. The shame and sadness feels as strong now as it did then and I am making an immediate change.

“I have already lost my wife, abandoned my family, and destroyed those I love as a result of my 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.

“In no way do these allegations reflect on Life or Death PR, its staff, or anyone associated with the company. These are my issues, not theirs. I could not be more proud of the company and what it stands for. That being said I have stepped down as the CEO and [am] relinquishing all responsibility to the current president, Nick Dierl. The company shouldn’t have to deal with this distraction and I want Nick and the rest of the team to continue to do their good work while I take care of myself.”

Life Or Death PR also released its own statement saying it is taking the allegations “very seriously” – read the statement below.

“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 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.”

Read some of the tweets from the affected artists below.




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