Music Publicist Resigns After Sexual Harassment Accusation From Dirty Projectors Member

20 January 2016 | 12:39 pm | Staff Writer

The vocalist/guitarist has received support from the likes of Questlove, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, Elijah Wood and more

More Dirty Projectors More Dirty Projectors

US-based music publicist Heathcliff Berru has reportedly resigned from his company, Life Or Death PR & Management, following public sexual harassment accusations from Dirty Projectors vocalist/guitarist Amber Coffman.

According to Billboard, the company — whose artist roster includes the likes of Wavves, DIIV, Cloud Nothings, BADBADNOTGOOD, Jagwar Ma, Joey Bada$$ and many more — released a statement asserting that it is taking the allegations "very seriously", and holds a "zero-tolerance policy for the type of conduct" of which Berru had been accused in a stream of tweets sent out from Coffman's account yesterday, in which she alleged that Berru had "rubbed [her] ass and bit [her] hair at a bar a couple years ago".

"The men and women who make up this company do not, and will not, condone or tolerate any conduct described in the online postings," the statement read. "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 behaviour 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."

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

The situation erupted yesterday when Coffman launched a series of tweets with an explanatory post recounting how she "was just re-telling/re-remembering a story abt 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," she continued. "He did it in front of 4 of my male friends. Still makes me so damn mad thinking about it.

"Still mad at myself as well for not punching him in the nose, but I totally froze up. Weird survival instinct I guess."

Coffman went on to say she was "not afraid" to identify her alleged harasser, going on to name Berru and his company and saying, "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."

"Tired of sketchy ass dudes and sexual predators getting a pass from their 'bros'," she wrote. "Grow a spine and hold your friends accountable."

In the wake of Coffman's tweets, several other people — including Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino — have made similar accusations against Berru.

"Thank you @Amber_Coffman for bravely speaking the truth," a tweet sent from Best Coast's account read. "Heathcliff Berru is a scumbag and I'm glad someone finally spoke up.

"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."

Also joining the chorus against Berru were fellow publicist Beth Martinez, who detailed an alleged "similar experience" in which she accuses Berru of "repeatedly put[ting] his hand down [her] shirt" despite her protests, Superfly business development co-ordinator Martika Finch, Ninja Tune project manager Theodora Karatzas, Tearist member Yasmine Kittles and Innovative Leisure Records' Emily Nigro, among others.

Meanwhile, Berru's alleged victims have been lent support from Wavves, who tweeted at Berru several pictures of Donald Trump overlaid with his The Apprentice catchphrase, "You're fired!", former Battles noise-maker Tyondai Braxton, DIIV, Speedy Ortiz guitarist Sadie Dupuis and even actor Elijah Wood, who retweeted several of Coffman's original tweets (though did not add comment of his own). Life Or Death PR has apparently deleted its Facebook page in the wake of the scandal.

See how the situation has played out below.