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Heathcliff Berru Of Life And Death PR Accused Of Sexual Assault

 

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Monday night Amber Coffman wrote a series of posts on twitter about how she was sexually assaulted by music publicist Heathcliff Berru, founder of Life Or Death PR & Management, (an indie behemoth whose clients include. Wavves, Odd Future, D’Angelo, DIIV, Killer Mike, of Montreal, Speedy Ortiz, Cloud Nothings, Best Coast, MGMT and, believe it or not, more): “Was just re-telling/re-remembering a story about how a very popular music publicist RUBBED my ass and BIT my hair at a bar a couple years ago. This was someone I barely knew and had just met. He did it in front of 4 of my male friends. Still makes me so damn mad thinking about it.”

Apparently, Berru made a habit of it and has now stepped down. So consider it one career over with due to mind boggling stupid, creepy and criminal activity. I don’t really get on my moral high horse too often, but back when men got away with slapping women or pinching women’s backsides, I considered it derogatory and bullying and never did it and today it is cultural anathema. I assume a lot of people work very hard at “Life And Death” and while Berru has stepped down as CEO, I doubt that is enough, because if he sells off his portion of the business artists still won’t be happy because he is making money and there is no way he will give up his shares in the business.

All of this in the presumably sexually enlightened world of indie rock.

Besides the obvious, the man is crazy, Berru forced Tearist’s Yasmine Kittles to touch his penis. Why would the head of a PR company sexually assault a woman? Surely, it isn’t so difficult to find a woman who likes him. The answer is simple: it isn’t the sex, it is the assault.

The other question is how much pressure is there to succeed that women kept quiet about it, and that goes straight to the toughness on the self-esteem of women when hurt and also the toughness of a business where you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than getting hits. In the end, indie musicians are not trying to buy a mansion, they are trying to pay the rent. A woman in a band is one of many who need to eat. So a sleazeball like Berru thinks he can get away with it.

If, in theory, the entire story was this guy touching Amber inappropriately. you might think, hey it is once, maybe he was drunk out of his mind. Should he be slapped, sure, but should he be destroyed? But taking his penis out of his pants and forcing Kittles to touch him? Throw the book at the scum.

Meanwhile, may I recommend Big Picture Media, the best publicists in the business and all round great folks. I think every band who wants to support a woman’s right not to be assaulted and show the Berrus of the world the consequence of their actions, should do so by joining a great team… I’m waiting.

Here is Stereogum’s report.

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