As Hollywood reels from news of alleged systemic sexual misconduct at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and James Toback, a prominent figure on the underground music scene is standing up with another account of what she claims to be sexual abuse by a former collaborator.
In a lengthy statement posted to her official website, ex-Crystal Castles vocalist Alice Glass has accused the two-person act’s co-founder and producer, Ethan Kath (real name Claudio Palmieri), of sustained mental and physical assault during their professional partnership, which she says began when he asked Glass to record vocals over experimental tracks he’d been working on since the early 2000s.
“I perceived him as a local rock star because I had seen his band, Kill Cheerleader, on TV. A lot of my friends from the punk scene had also been taken advantage of by much older men, so to me, it was a situation that had been normalized,” she said. “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… ”
In a statement to EW, Kath has responded to the allegations.
“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,” he says. “Fortunately, there are many witnesses who can and will confirm that I was never abusive to Alice.”
“Her own sister denies the alleged abuse,” Kath says, pointing to a series of Instagram posts from November 2016, in which a fan posted a text conversation with whom Kath says is Glass’ sister. “ seems to believe this is a misguided marketing ploy by Alice. I fully agree with her sister that this is ‘sad and disrespectful’ to true victims of abuse.”
Representatives for Glass did not immediately return EW’s request for comment on Kath’s statement.
During sessions for their eponymous debut release, Glass further claims a sound engineer sexually abused her, adding that Kath laughed the situation off, proceeding to use Glass’ “accidental” vocals — captured during what he claimed was a “mic test” — in the final version of their song “Alice Practice,” an act Glass says diminished her role in the tune’s creative process.
After the band rose to prominence, Glass says Kath became physically abusive, and recounts a particular occurrence where he threatened to throw her over a staircase, picked her up over his head, and threw her onto concrete, leaving her with bruises–photos of which she claims he posted online.
“He berated me and yelled at me, telling me that I was a joke, that all the people that came to our shows were only interested in his instrumentals and that I was ruining the band,” she continues. “He told me that my feminism made me a target for rapists and only he could protect me. He forced me to have sex with him or, he said, I wouldn’t be allowed to be in the band anymore.”
Glass departed the band in 2014, confirming her exit via Facebook as a result of “reasons both professional and personal.” She was replaced by singer Edith Frances in 2015.
When the band was announced as a featured performer at a 2016 Tumblr-sponsored SXSW event held in the name of gender equality, Glass released a statement to The Verge calling for Kath’s removal from the bill, which read, “As someone who knew Ethan Kath on a personal and professional level, it is my opinion that he is not an appropriate artist to be performing at a feminism-centric event,” and the band was later dropped from the lineup.
Now, Glass says she’s still processing the effects of Kath’s alleged behavior, and that the psychological scars haven’t fully healed, and even left her suicidal.
“Leaving Crystal Castles was the single most difficult decision I’ve ever made — that band was everything to me… I gave that up and started over not because I wanted to but because I had to,” she concludes. “It has taken me years to recover from enduring almost a decade of abuse, manipulation and psychological control. I am still recovering.”