Photo of Heathcliff Berru
Yesterday several women, including Dirty Projectors member Amber Coffman, music publicist Beth Martinez, festival coordinator Martika Finch, and musicians Chelsea Wolfe and Roxy Lange, came forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against music publicist Heathcliff Berru.
In the wake of the allegations, Berru resigned from his post as CEO of Life or Death PR, where he represented artists including D’Angelo, Killer Mike, Wavves, Cloud Nothings, and Mac Miller. Several of these artists, including Wavves and DIIV, terminated their relationship with Berru prior to his resignation.
Now, in a statement issued to LA Weekly, Berru has apologized for the “alleged” inappropriate behavior and is “deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions.” As of press time, it’s unclear if he’s deeply sorry for his actual actions or just for those who were offended. Berru also was sure to note that he “never drugged anyone or engaged in that type of behavior,” and attributed much of his non-drug aided predatory behavior to his own battle with drug and alcohol addiction, which he’s finally decided to confront in the wake of these allegations.
Read Berru’s full statement below.
“There have been several reports about my alleged inappropriate behavior which deserve a response. I am deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions and how I have made certain women feel. If I crossed the line of decency or respectfulness in situations when I was drunk and under the influence, there is no excuse of course. To be clear, while my conduct may have been inappropriate, I have never drugged anyone or engaged in that type of behavior. Nevertheless, I do not want to be the type of person who would let drugs or alcohol take command of his life and compromise how he treats people. Yet I have been this person and it’s time to put a stop to all of this. Create a world with one less inappropriate man.
“I have been fighting a losing battle against drugs and alcohol for many years and will be checking into a rehabilitation facility in the hope that I can improve my chances of winning that fight. A year ago, I was confronted by a peer and began to try to clean up and make things right with therapy and with an eye towards quitting the addiction. The shame and sadness feels as strong now as it did then and I am making an immediate change.
“I have already lost my wife, abandoned my family, and destroyed those I love as a result of my shameful, embarrassing, unacceptable behavior. I deeply apologize to them as well. By no means do they deserve to feel the pain of my actions. Please give them the space they deserve. They were the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I was married during some of these years and hid my problems from everyone well. Especially her and her family. Totally inexcusable.
“In no way do these allegations reflect on Life or Death PR, its staff, or anyone associated with the company. These are my issues, not theirs. I could not be more proud of the company and what it stands for. That being said I have stepped down as the CEO and [am] relinquishing all responsibility to the current president, Nick Dierl. The company shouldn’t have to deal with this distraction and I want Nick and the rest of the team to continue to do their good work while I take care of myself.”
Despite his resignation, it remains unclear whether Berru will continue to profit from the company he founded. Our emails to him remain unreturned.
In response to Berru’s statement, Coffman tweeted:
Update – Wednesday, January 20th at 10:00 a.m. CT: Killer Mike, another one of Berru’s former clients, has discussed the allegations and his relationship with Berru.
The full account of Katie via Brooklyn Magazine:
“woah. wow. shock. anger. humiliation. heartbreak to revisit my experience and that period of my life as a whole. but ultimately, RELIEF. Bear with me because it isn’t easy to revisit, publicly share this story or disclose details of my personal dark past. I do so for the greater good. k. here goes:
“From the moment I scanned this headline, my stomach sank and it was with certainty that I knew I would stumble upon Heathcliff’s name in the article to follow. 2012 found me in the darkest most emotionally vulnerable place of my lifetime. Weeks into my move to Los Angeles, a supposed friend took advantage of that vulnerability when I needed a friend most. Eager to celebrate wrapping a few month long project, I naively met up with Heathcliff and his friend Chris or something (Manager to Big Boi) at a hotel in Hollywood. Almost immediately upon my arrival, an inebriated and coked up Heathcliff tried to pull me between his legs a few times. When I turned him down, he asked me to walk him out. While I felt the threat straight up, I obliged because I knew I’d be in a public place by way of the lobby and could hopefully remain safe. He said he needed to piss so we swung by the bathroom in the hotel lobby. He immediately began trying to aggressively make out with me. I nervously laughed and told him I was a lesbian and dating someone to which he replied ‘So am I. Come on.’ He went for it again then proceeded to restrain me with his forearm to my throat against the bathroom stall, unzipped his pants and tried to repeatedly force my hand against his dick. I screamed for him to stop, shoved him away and I resisted as best I could but he overpowered me and I so I stood there restrained at the neck and shoving his body away from me with my spare arm while he jerked off and came all over the bathroom floor. Stunned, I started laughing at his pathetic, desperate sexual assault and told him to get the fuck out of my face. He zipped up his pants and left the bathroom. I ran to his friends hotel room to consult him for help to which he responded ‘That’s fucked up. But you’re hot. Can you blame him?’ My mind was blown. Had this fuck just validated Heathcliff’s sexual assault? To know me is to understand that I’m a lesbian woman….like goldstar lesbian so my sexual encounters with men are highly limited and this was most certainly a first time something like this ever happened to me. I was mortified, humiliated, angry, confused and felt somehow guilty as if I had brought it upon myself. Shamefully, I confided details in less than a handful close to me and wasn’t given the most supportive feedback but no matter how you cut it, it was unprovoked and unwelcome and I was seriously sexually violated. The assault drove me deeper into my existing depression and ultimately served as a tipping point to a pretty serious suicide attempt a few weeks later.
“Fast forward 6 months or so later and I finally mustered the courage to confront him via text for what had gone down. Mind you, I had 0 contact with him beyond his occasional unanswered pervy texts encouraging us to ‘do it again sometime. haha’ He apologized seemingly sincerely and explained that he had been ‘turnt’ and in recovery in Al Anon, family members had passed away, another OD-ed, etc etc. I was desperately battling suicidal depression and couldn’t bear to hold onto it any longer and so for personal reasons, I accepted his apology in order to release all the weight associated and move on with my life. Until now, I had forgiven him as if it may have been a one off while he was battling addiction etc. I now know by way of his familiar seemingly half-hearted, sympathy inducing public statement, that he’s continued using and abusing countless women and owning up to all these accusations of almost parallel experiences. I’m both relieved not to feel alone in this anymore but also angered and gutted to learn that many many more have fallen victim to his sexually predatory behavior. Best case is that he’ll reap consequences far beyond stepping down as CEO of his own damn company, optioning rehab, and being publicly fired by the majority of his artists.
“So while at the time, my reasoning for keeping quiet was for personal safety amidst an emotionally dangerous period of my life, I can since relate that with the caliber of his success and roster, I didn’t feel many would stand with me for it to have a real blowback onto him or Life or Death. Many of his artists were ones I respected, artists I was a legitimate fan of. It was always unsettling to watch them publicly developing personal relationships with an abuser like Heathcliff as if validating his behavior. Many of his other victims were in positions in the music industry where they felt powerless against him or that their careers might be compromised by speaking up.
“With that said, I honor Amber’s bravery for initially exposing him as well as the outpouring of women who’ve publicly shared their stories. I’ve now come forward in solidarity with the other women who suffered the consequences of Heathcliff’s destructive behavior NOT WITH THE INTENT TO GARNER PERSONAL ATTENTION OR SYMPATHY but rather to shine some light upon living in a world where women are silenced by a patriarchy of powerful abusive men and lend muscle to sexual abuse victims so that they might not feel alone in their experience as I had until now. This goes on so much more frequently than most could imagine. Ladies, lets elaborate upon this very real conversation and lay to rest the stigma and shaming of sexual abuse victims.”
Update – Wednesday, January 20th at 5:25 p.m. CT: According to a statement issued to The FADER, the remainder of Life or Death PR’s staff will be leaving the company and starting a new venture “that bears no ties to Heathcliff Berru or the Life or Death name.”
“In light of recent events, the remainder of the Life or Death staff is leaving the company today.
“We are saddened by the circumstances under which we are departing but are grateful for the opportunity we had together.
There will be a new venture imminently that bears no ties to Heathcliff Berru or the Life or Death name.”
Update – Wednesday, January 20th at 6:10 p.m. CT: Killer Mike has issued a longer statement via Facebook.