Content warning: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault.
Michael Milosh of electronic act Rhye has been sued by his ex-wife, actress Alexa Nikolas, for sexual battery, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and a violation of California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act.
Filed August 25 in a California state court, the lawsuit accuses Milosh of grooming Nikolas from their earliest interactions, when Nikolas was 16 years old and Milosh was 33. The pair married in March 2012 and separated in March 2016, with the divorce finalised in May of 2019.
“Milosh utilized his power of authority and seniority over [Nikolas], as well as years of sexual grooming of [Nikolas] as a minor child, to manipulate her into trusting him,” the filing alleges.
“Upon gaining her trust, Defendant Milosh terrorized, sodomized, and abused [Nikolas] as a part of his continuous conduct aimed at satisfying his prurient and economic desires.”
According to the filing, Milosh “intentionally, recklessly, and wantonly made sexual advances, solicitations, requests, and demands for sexual compliance of a hostile nature based on [Nikolas’] gender that were unwelcome, pervasive, and severe.”
NME has reached out to Milosh via his management for comment.
Some of the claims made in the lawsuit align with accusations Nikolas made in March this year, when she alleged that Milosh had groomed her from when she was 16 years old in an open letter titled Groomed by the Groom.
Echoing Nikolas’ initial allegations, the lawsuit claims Nikolas and Milosh first interacted online in 2008. It is alleged that the two proceeded to communicate via phone, text message and Skype for almost two years, and despite Milosh’s knowledge that Nikolas was a minor, he “repeatedly [asked] to see [Nikolas] in person, take photographs of her, and [requested] she send explicit photographs of herself to him.”
The lawsuit also reiterates an accusation Nikolas had previously made about the night the two first met, when she had just turned 18. According to the lawsuit, Milosh “began pressuring [her] to take off her clothes” after supplying her with “excessive alcohol.”
“After Nikolas took off her clothing, Milosh immediately began digitally penetrating Nikolas in her anus,” reads a section of the lawsuit describing the alleged incident.
“Nikolas asked Milosh to stop, but he refused. Nikolas told Milosh the penetration hurt, but he ignored her.
“The pain was so severe, it caused Nikolas to well up with tears. Milosh deliberately ignored Nikolas’s explicit non-consent and simply assured Nikolas that she would enjoy the experience eventually.”
Milosh denied Nikolas’ accusations back in March, labelling them “outrageously false”. He suggested that Nikolas “resorted to character assassination” because he stopped supporting her financially – Nikolas claimed in her letter that Milosh had backtracked on an agreement of financial support following their divorce.
The lawsuit also targets “the record labels, management companies, and other corporate entities” who Nikolas says helped facilitate Milosh’s alleged misconduct, “despite knowledge that [Nikolas] was a minor and continuing to suffer abuse even after the age of majority”.
Record labels Plug Research, Innovative Leisure, Polydor and Loma Vista and management company Red Light are named in the suit. According to the filing, those entities “knew of the sexual assaults perpetrated upon Nikolas as a child, yet supported [Milosh] financially, empowered him in the industry, promoted his music, career, fame, and increased his power over Nikolas.”
In particular, the suit describes an album release party for Milosh’s 2013 solo album ‘Jetlag’, which allegedly used recordings of Nikolas during sex throughout the album, “including a recording of her saying ‘no’ in response to his attempt to anally penetrate her”. According to the suit, Milosh coerced a heavily intoxicated Nikolas to allow him to record footage and audio of them having sex.
Milosh is alleged to have “proudly” told the release party’s attendees they were “listening to Nikolas during coerced anal sex throughout his entire album”. Milosh is also alleged to have displayed naked photographs of Nikolas at the party, and that Nikolas did not consent to the public use of the photos.
It is alleged that individuals from labels Innovative Leisure, Polydor and Loma Vista – who have all released Milosh’s music – attended the party “with prior knowledge of the foundation of the deceitful relationship which was rooted in childhood sexual assault”. Publicity company Biz3 and KCRW Public Radio are also alleged to have been in attendance.
NME has reached out to Plug Research, Innovative Leisure, Polydor, Red Light, Biz3 and KCRW Public Radio for comment.