UPDATED: Alice Glass, former lead singer of Crystal Castles, on Tuesday published a long post on her website accusing her former bandmate Ethan Kath of sexual assault and abuse beginning when she was 15 years old.
“Claudio was very manipulative towards me,” she writes. “Over a period of many months, he gave me drugs and alcohol and had sex with me in an abandoned room at an apartment he managed. It wasn’t always consensual…. “He [also] became physically abusive. He held me over a staircase and threatened to throw me down it. He picked me up over his shoulders and threw me onto concrete. … He controlled everything I did.”
A rep for Kath and Crystal Castles did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment, but Kath responded to Pitchfork via his attorney. “I am outraged and hurt by the recent statements made by Alice about me and our prior relationship,” he said. “Her story is pure fiction and I am consulting my lawyers as to my legal options. Fortunately, there are many witnesses who can and will confirm that I was never abusive to Alice.”
Her account is the latest in a wave of similar allegations of sexual assault and abuse that have jarred the indie and alternative rock worlds, including allegations against former Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile, PWR BTTM singer Ben Hopkins, solo artist Alex Calder (who have all admitted to the accusations) and DJ Gaslamp Killer. In a related development, Marilyn Manson bassist Twiggy Ramirez was accused of rape and abuse by his former girlfriend Jessicka Addams, ex-lead singer of Jack Off Jill. The accusations have followed in the wake of dozens of claims of sexual assault and harassment against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, but in January of 2016 veteran indie and hip-hop publicist Heathcliff Berru was confronted with multiple charges of harassment that resulted in him shutting down his PR firm and seeking treatment.
Kath and Glass formed the group in Toronto in 2006; Glass left in 2014 after the pair had released three albums and Kath has carried on with singer Edith Frances. After the split, Glass and Kath sniped at each other in public statements (“I wish my former vocalist the best of luck in her future endeavors… it should be rewarding for her considering she didn’t appear on Crystal Castles’ best known songs,” Kath wrote) but the allegations she published today are far more serious. (Read her full post here.)
“I met ‘Ethan Kath’ (Claudio Palmieri) when I was in the 10th grade,” she writes. “The first time he took advantage of me was when I was around 15. He was 10 years older than me. I came to in the back of his car extremely intoxicated (from drinks he had given me that night). We didn’t talk for months after that. … He tracked me down and showed up places I was hanging out and we eventually reconnected. I was very young and naive and in a compromised position in my life. I perceived him as a local rock star because I had seen his band, Kill Cheerleader, on TV. A lot of my friends from the punk scene had also been taken advantage of by much older men, so to me, it was a situation that had been normalized.”
She then writes of the early days of the band, which she says she enjoyed but “he created a toxic environment that I often felt I had to go along with.” She says as the band’s fame grew, Kath persuaded her to quit high school just two credits away from graduation. “As we started to gain attention, he abusively and systematically targeting my insecurities and controlling my behavior: my eating habits, who I could talk to, where I could go, what I could say in public, what I was allowed to wear.
“He became physically abusive,” she continues. “He held me over a staircase and threatened to throw me down it. He picked me up over his shoulders and threw me onto concrete. He took pictures of my bruises and posted them online. I tried to leave, and he swore that it would never happen again, that he would never physically abuse me again. … He controlled everything I did. I wasn’t allowed to have my own phone or my own credit card, he decided who my friends were, read through my private emails, restricted my access to social media, regulated everything I ate. … He forced me to have sex with him or, he said, I wouldn’t be allowed to be in the band anymore. I was miserable and my lyrics indirectly spoke to the pain and oppression that I was enduring. But as is sometimes the case in abusive relationships, his cruelty was often followed by kindness. He was very good at keeping his terrible treatment of me private. … I was suicidal for years.”
She concludes, “Leaving Crystal Castles was the single most difficult decision I’ve ever made—that band was everything to me. My music, my performances and my fans were all I had in the world. I gave that up and started over not because I wanted to but because I had to.”
In introducing the note, Glass writes: “Some of you may be aware that I’ve opened up about my experiences with abuse in the past,” she writes. “I’ve been very guarded about the information I’ve given and I haven’t publicly named names—because I’ve been afraid. I’ve been threatened and harassed and as a result, out of fear, I’ve been silenced.
“The momentum that’s been created recently by the many courageous women who have opened up about their own stories has inspired me to finally be more direct, at whatever cost. This is for my own recovery, for the other women who have been, are currently, or may be in a similar situation with the man who abused me for years, and for those in abusive relationships who are looking to stand up and speak out.”