In October 2014, singer Alice Glass announced her split from Crystal Castles, a group she’d co-founded alongside Ethan Kath in 2006. “My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty, and empathy for others,” she wrote at the time. “For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal I no longer feel that this is possible within [Crystal Castles].”
Now, Glass has detailed the reasons for her departure. In a lengthy statement posted on her official website today, the musician has accused Kath of years of sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and assault. She alleges repeated instances of rape, a pattern of disturbingly controlling behavior, and multiple accounts of physical abuse, some involving being thrown down onto concrete.
Their abusive relationship allegedly began when Glass was just 15 — she’s now 29 — and continued on throughout her entire career as part of Crystal Castles. “The first time he [Kath, born Claudio Palmieri] took advantage of me was when I was around 15,” she recalls early in her post. “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 went to great lengths to find me again, stalking me and driving past my high school looking for me.”
“Claudio was very manipulative towards me. He figured out my insecurities and exploited them: he used the things he learned about me against me. 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 and he remained sober whenever we were together.”
As Crystal Castles grew in popularity, the alleged abuse also escalated, according to Glass. “He 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 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. More severe psychological and emotional abuse took its place.” She also recounts an instance in which she claims she was sexually harassed by a recording engineer while they were recording in the studio. “Claudio laughed at me and pressured me to go along with it.”
Palmieri also allegedly tried to control nearly every aspect of her life. “As we started to gain attention, he began 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,” Glass writes. “He kept me from doing interviews or photoshoots unless he was in control of the situation. Our fame grew in Crystal Castles but he didn’t feel he was getting the recognition he thought he deserved.”
“He told me that my feminism made me a target for rapists and only he could protect me.” Palmieri also allegedly threatened to kick Glass out of Crystal Castles unless she had sex with him.
After years spent locked in an abusive relationship with Palmieri, Glass says she decided the only option she had left was to let go of the band. “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. As difficult as it was, I knew that leaving was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has taken me years to recover from enduring almost a decade of abuse, manipulation and psychological control. I am still recovering.”
Though she’s remained mostly quiet about the Palmieri and the abuse, Glass notes that “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.” She adds, “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.”
Read the full statement here.
Update: In a statement provided to Pitchfork, Kath denied the allegations, saying, “I am outraged and hurt by the recent statements made by Alice about me and our prior relationship. 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.”
Additionally, all of Crystal Castles’ upcoming tour dates have been canceled.
Consequence of Sound has reached out to Crystal Castles’ representatives for comment, but has yet to hear back.