Swans’ Michael Gira responds after being accused of rape by former collaborator

Larkin Grimm accuses the frontman of sexual assault in 2008

Swans frontman Michael Gira has been accused of sexual assault by former collaborator Larkin Grimm. Gira has since responded to the claims by labelling them “slanderous lies”.

Singer-songwriter Grimm alleges that Gira raped her in 2008 as she was finishing recording her album ‘Parplar’, which was released on Gira’s Young God label. Gira later dropped her from the label after she confronted him about the alleged incident, she claims.

Posting a lengthy account to Facebook, Grimm writes: “Rape is a loaded word. No man wants to be a rapist. It implies cowardice as well as violence. It undermines the sexual power and magnetism that every man would like to have. No woman wants to be known as a rape victim, either. I want to be known for my strength, intelligence, and talent. Not known as a victim.”

“My story with Michael Gira is an absolute tragedy that I have kept secret for too long,” she continues. “Michael Gira and I had a beautiful, fruitful collaboration on my album ‘Parplar’. He was my record label boss and producer. He was my beloved, trusted mentor, really my guru… I loved him more than I have loved just about anyone, but I did not want to have sex with him, and I made that very clear over and over.”

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Grimm goes on to allege that she was sexually assaulted by Gira after they stayed at his friend’s home after finishing work on her album. “The next morning, Michael begged me not to tell his wife about what happened,” she claims, later accusing Gira of dropping her from his label after she confronted him over the matter.

Grimm also offered her support for singer Kesha, who is currently seeking release from her contract with Sony and producer Dr Luke, having claimed to have been drugged and raped by the producer. Grimm wrote: “Sending my love to ‪#‎Kesha‬ I know how you feel. At least I got out of my record deal, though I was never offered another one after that.”

Gira responded to the claims by describing himself as “shocked” and describing Grimm’s account as a “slanderous lie”. He added in a Facebook post: “I will respond vigorously to defend my name against this horrible slur. I trust in the intelligence of those who have followed my work and respect me as a person, to know this is not the person I am. The rumour mill/’confessional’ Facebook post travels like fire- but this one is lies. More soon.”

He also acknowledged the night in question with another statement:

“Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, “this doesn’t feel right,” and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake.

“Larkin may regret, as I certainly do, that the ill-advised tryst went even that far, but now, as then, I hold her in high esteem for her music and her courage as an artist.

“I long ago apologized to my wife and family and told them the truth about this incident. My hope is that Larkin finds peace with the demons that have been darkening her soul since long before she and I ever met.”

Grimm later offered another statement to Pitchfork following Gira’s denial. She said: “I am not in this for vengeance. I am not angry. I do not want Michael Gira to have his life destroyed. If one in four or five women has been raped, we have to acknowledge the possibility that one in five men might be rapists. What are we going to do with them all? Send them to jail for 10 years and cut off their dicks? No. It is the whole culture that has to change. We have created this epidemic of harassment and disrespect and violence together. We have to end it together.”

UPDATE

And earlier today (February 27) Grimm contacted Pitchfork with follow up comments in which she called Gira’s statement an admission of guilt.

“This is a perfect example of why we need to have education about consent. In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist. Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape. I said no to you many times before that day, begged you not to interfere with me sexually, even made it a part of a verbal agreement we had when I signed a contract with you. I asked you to promise that you would never have sex with me. You assured me that I could trust you. That is about as clear a NO as I could ever cry. I asked for this because I had had other experiences in my music career and I KNEW.

“That night I was far too intoxicated to give you consent for any sexual act. The psychological effects of this betrayal were devastating. Even worse, when I finally confronted you about what you had done, you terminated my relationship with Young God Records, damaging my career and leading people to believe there was something wrong with me or my music.

“In the end, this is about business. Art is my career. I have worked long and hard for this career, making incredible sacrifices along the way to continue to make music. The fact that a man in power can throw a women’s life and work away like they are garbage, simply because she won’t sleep with him, is an immoral injustice that happens to many, many women in music. I won’t stand for it and neither should you.

“The “Demons darkening my soul” are the men like you who interfere with my ability to do my work as a musician. This is a job I am good at. All I want is to be left in peace while I am working.
Larkin Grimm released her debut album ‘Harpoon’ in 2005. She has performed with the likes of Dirty Projectors and collaborated with Javelin.”

Michael Gira fronts both Swans and Angels of Light. Swans were originally active between 1982–1997, later reforming in 2010. Their last album ‘To Be Kind’ was released in 2014.