Last night Brooklyn-based band-member of the Dirty Projectors, Amber Coffman set off a number of tweets, recalling an experience with music publicist Heathcliff Berru of Life or Death PR and Management - a situation involving sexual harassment, where Coffman recalls the publicist rubbed her ass and bit her hair in front of several of her male friends. Her story quickly spread and it wasn't long before a number of other women in the industry came forward with their own accounts of situations of harassment and molestation involving Berru.

Publicist/owner of Danger Village PR, Beth Martinez exchanged tweets with Coffman to share her own experiences with Berru, while Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino recounted allegations that have been floating around for years.

Life or Death is a prominent PR company with an extensive roster, (which includes Killer Mike, Kelela, D'Angelo etc..) I've exchanged emails with Berru myself when looking to interview Earl Sweatshirt last summer. And now, I've deleted his email from my contacts. I'm thankful that the women came forward or else I may have never known - well, until something may have happened with myself or another one of my peers. It's important to stand beside and support women like Coffman and Martinez, who have come forward. Their bravery is important.

Often women, and women working in music or other male-dominated industries are stigmatized, and in situations involving high-profile or powerful men like Berru, women are often shamed or even victim blamed for what happens, as if working alongside men or liking music means we deserve the horrible things that often happen. WORKING IN MUSIC SHOULD NOT BE A RISK. And it happens - more often than the lot of us have ever come forward with. Sometimes it's sexual micro-aggressions, or in others, cases like Coffman and Martinez, more serious. So we should believe them, always - and Heathcliff Berru shouldn't get away with any of it. Believing women means believing women in the music industry as well.

Update: Heathcliff Beru has stepped down as the the CEO of Life or Death PR, who had this to say:

"Life or Death has a zero tolerance policy for the type of conduct alleged in today’s on-line postings. We take these allegations very seriously.

The men and women who make up this company do not, and will not, condone or tolerate any conduct described in the on-line postings. 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 behavior 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."


Update: Heathcliff Berru has released a statement regarding the allegations. Can you tell he is/was a publicist? Hmmm.

"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.

"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 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."