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.
“Claudio was very manipulative towards me,” Glass wrote. “He figured out my insecurities and exploited them: he used the things he learned about me against me. 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 and he remained sober whenever we were together.”
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 said. “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 alleged, pointing to a series of Instagram posts from November 2016, in which a fan posted an alleged text conversation with whom Kath says is Glass’ sister. “[She] 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 also claimed 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 claimed Kath “became physically abusive” and wrote that he “took pictures of my bruises and posted them online.” According to Glass, after she tried to leave, Kath “swore that it would never happen again, that he would never physically abuse me again. More severe psychological and emotional abuse took its place.”
Glass alleged Kath “berated” and “yelled” at her and also downplayed her contributions to their bad. “He broke glass shower doors to frighten me, he locked me into rooms. He told me that my feminism made me a target for rapists and only he could protect me.” Glass also claimed Kath forced her 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 [Crystal Castles frontman] 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.”
Read Glass’ full statement here.