UPDATE 2/29: Gira issued a statement that reads thusly:
“Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, “this doesn’t feel right,” and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake. Larkin may regret, as I certainly do, that the ill-advised tryst went even that far, but now, as then, I hold her in high esteem for her music and her courage as an artist. I long ago apologized to my wife and family and told them the truth about this incident. My hope is that Larkin finds peace with the demons that have been darkening her soul since long before she and I ever met.”
Grimm has subsequently posted her own statement challenging the tenor of Gira’s statement:
This is a perfect example of why we need to have education about consent. In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist. Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape. I said no to you many times before that day, begged you not to interfere with me sexually, even made it a part of a verbal agreement we had when I signed a contract with you. I asked you to promise that you would never have sex with me. You assured me that I could trust you. That is about as clear a NO as I could ever cry. I asked for this because I had had other experiences in my music career and I KNEW.
That night I was far too intoxicated to give you consent for any sexual act. The psychological effects of this betrayal were devastating. Even worse, when I finally confronted you about what you had done, you terminated my relationship with Young God Records, damaging my career and leading people to believe there was something wrong with me or my music.
In the end, this is about business. Art is my career. I have worked long and hard for this career, making incredible sacrifices along the way to continue to make music. The fact that a man in power can throw a women’s life and work away like they are garbage, simply because she won’t sleep with him, is an immoral injustice that happens to many, many women in music. I won’t stand for it and neither should you.
The “Demons darkening my soul” are the men like you who interfere with my ability to do my work as a musician. This is a job I am good at. All I want is to be left in peace while I am working.
Additional news just in: Gira has cancelled his Australian tour that was set to begin this week, reports Pitchfork.
Sordid story plays out against the backdrop of the Kesha-Dr. Luke blowup.
By Barbi Martinez
Last night the indie rock world entered scandal territory when singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm published a lengthy Facebook post accusing Swans frontman Michael Gira of a 2008 rape. It’s a pretty harrowing account, detailing an evening that spring just after the conclusion of recording sessions for Grimm’s 2008 Gira-produced album Parplar. Writes Grimm, in part,
“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… [One night after dinner] 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 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.”
Grimm additionally notes that she went into a deep depression, and that Gira repeatedly attempted to get her to have sex with him again, ultimately dropping her from his label, Young God Records. The recent press accounts of Kesha and her producer Dr. Luke apparently influenced her decision to come forward with her story eight years after the fact.
As you might imagine, Gira has responded via his own Facebook page and maintains that it is “a slanderous lie,” vowing to defend his name “against this horrible slur” after he consults an attorney. Meanwhile, Gira’s wife Jennifer has weighed in as well, posting on Facebook with an even lengthier commentary that Grimm’s actions are the result of having been dropped from Gira’s label years ago and feeling “jilted about it ever since.” She notes that Grimm sent her husband “harassing emails/texts, rambling obsessive tomes, declarations of unrequited love, hate speech, and threats to him… I have PROOF, in Larkin’s own hand, that her allegations of Michael raping her *did not happen.* I REPEAT It is false.”
The plot then thickens via the intervention of Pitchfork, with Grimm making the following statement:
“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.”
Gira has not yet responded to Pitchfork’s request for comment. But social media has, as expected, blown up about the she said – he said incident, and it’s worth reading the comments at each principal’s FB page to note how the lines are being drawn. At this point it’s unclear how this will play out, but as it is against the backdrop of the Kesha-Dr. Luke blowup, you can bet it’s not going to fade away anytime in the near future. Stay tuned.