Heathcliff Berru has spoken out through a written statement about recent accusations by multiple women that he sexually assaulted them. L.A. Weekly printed his statement in its entirety. In it, Berru expresses regret for his actions and states that any inappropriate behavior was done while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He also states that he has struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, and is now seeking help with his addictions.
Berru was first publicly accused of inappropriate touching by Amber Coffman, vocalist and guitarist for the band Dirty Projectors, through tweets she posted on Monday. In some of those tweets, she stated that other men had seen him do it, and that she has previously reported it to people with whom he works, but nothing was done.
I've been told many women have had scary stories about him for years but are scared to speak up. And dudes overlook it and keep hiring him— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
Coffman’s statements about Berru’s behavior sparked a conversation on Twitter that quickly snowballed into a lengthy discussion on Twitter and other websites in which several women reported having similar experiences with Berru. Berru is an indie music publicist, and it wasn’t long before another publicist for indie musicians, Beth Martinez, tweeted a response in which she claimed she had an experience like Coffman’s.
.@Amber_Coffman he repeatedly put his hand down my shirt while driving me home after I told him to stop many times— Beth Martinez. Hero. (@dangervillage) January 19, 2016
Bethany Consentino of Best Coast also tweeted about her experience with Berru.
@Amber_Coffman good for you for doing this. I was too freaked out to ever say anything. Seriously he's not a good person on any level.— Best Coast (@BestCoast) January 19, 2016
The Daily Mail reports that at least one woman has stated that Berru drugged her and then raped her, an accusation he specifically denied in his statement.
In an email to Brooklyn Magazine, Roxy Lange details an experience she had with Berru when she was 21. In it she begins with a statement that he tried to force her to perform a sex act while they were in a cab together.
“[He] 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… 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.”
Berru founded the company, Life or Death, who announced earlier this week that he had resigned from his position as CEO, adding the following.
“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.”
In his statement, Berru gave control of Life or Death to current president Nick Dierl. Berru also admits that he has lost his wife and family because of his drug and alcohol problem and then apologizes for his “shameful, embarrassing, unacceptable behavior.” It ends with his wish that his behavior not be seen as a reflection on Life or Death.
Life or Death clients Odd Future Wavves, Speedy Ortiz, and Kelela have tweeted that they have left Life or Death. Rumors are circulating that indicate that several others have followed suit. The company’s website currently displays a message that it is “under maintenance.”
[Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images]