Indie musicians are coming forward about repeated sexual harassment and assault they have experienced from the same PR manager throughout the past five years. The accused, Heathcliff Berru, is the founder and CEO of Life Or Death PR, an established music PR and marketing firm that works with independent artists of all sizes.
Was just re-telling/re-remembering a story abt how a very popular music publicist RUBBED my ass and BIT my hair at a bar a couple years ago
— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) January 19, 2016
Thank you @Amber_Coffman in 2009 he grabbed my ass and then held me down onto my couch as he unzipped his pants &forced my hand on his dick.
— TEARIST (@_TEARIST_) January 19, 2016
Kittles had never gone public, really, with her experience. She says Berru had groped her, too — grabbed her butt, pulled her onto a couch, gripped her in a hug, and forced her to touch his penis — in 2011.
At first, Coffman didn’t identify Berru by name. But as soon as she did, Kittles said, “I was just like: That’s it. That’s it. Okay. Let’s fucking go.”
“I was very blunt, because I was like, I think I need to be,” she said. (She also clarified that she had the date wrong in her tweet; the incident occurred in May 2011.) “It was like a pretty quick thing. I thought: I’ll just say it. This horrible, gross thing, I’m just going to say it.”
Kittles’ voice turned out to be part of a chorus: Musicians and publicists came forward, alleging Berru had committed similar offenses against them, or against women they knew. On Tuesday,Life or Death announced that Berru would be stepping down as CEO, saying the company “has a zero tolerance policy for the type of conduct alleged in today’s on-line postings.” The next day,Berru released a statement of his own, via Billboard. He wrote that he was “deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions and how I have made certain women feel,” detailing a years-long “losing battle against drugs and alcohol” that he claims fueled his misconduct.