Gaslamp Killer Files Defamation Suit Over Sexual Assault Accusations
Alternative DJ and producer The Gaslamp Killer has filed a defamation lawsuit against two women he says falsely accused him of drugging and raping them.
Chris McKay/GettyImages.com – The Gaslamp Killer
Slingshot Festival in Athens, Ga.
The artist, real name William Bensussen, in October was accused of drugging and raping two women when Chelsea Tadros made a lengthy Twitter post describing the alleged incident.
Shortly thereafter, the Low End Theory club event severed ties with him and canceled a Brooklyn event that was to be part of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 13, says the women and “an acknowledged Internet hoaxer” damaged Bensussen’s career by “making baseless charges in a social media smear campaign.”
The suit says two witnesses have come forward corroborating Bensussen’s account that the July 5, 2013, encounter was consensual and that both women were sober and in “full control of their faculties immediately after the encounter in the DJ’s bedroom.”
The suit says the accuser’s boyfriend is a known hoaxer known for elaborate pranks as chronicled in a Playboy article.
Tadros’ Oct. 12 Tweet reads, “I’m finally ready to come forward to help myself heal and to prevent it from happening to other women in the future.” She added, “The Gaslamp Killer drugged myself and my best friend at a part at the Standard hotel, had non-consensual sex with both of us while we were completely incapacitated, and tehn dumped us back in front of the standard after it happened.”
The Tweet says the DJ handed she and her friend two drinks and “that was the last clear memory I have, and that was our first drink of the day.”
The fallout from the rape accusations extended to Australia, where Australian promoters The Operatives and Let Them Eat Cake canceled upcoming appearances. The Gaslamp Killer was booked to play New Year’s Day event Let Them Eat Cake in Melbourne, Western Australia’s Breakfast and New Zealand’s Northern Bass festival.
The reaction led to “record label, U.S. booking agency, promoters and concert venues to sever their ties and cancel his performances through the rest of the year,” according to a statement from Bensussen’s lawyer. Independent label Brainfeeder at the time released a statement saying The Gaslamp Killer was not on its roster and that it had not released music by him in years. At the time, a Paradigm spokesman told Pollstar that The Gaslamp Killer was no longer a client of the agency.
Bensussen defended himself with his own tweet at the time, which read, “I would never drug a woman, and I would never put anyone in a situation where they were not in control, or take anything that they weren’t offering. … Chelsea’s version of this story is not true.”
The suit demands a jury trial and seeks actual damages according to proof but in an amount not less than $5 million.
The Gaslamp Killer has released two LPs, 2016’s Instrumentalepathy and 2012’s Breakthrough. On the road, he’s acted as support for Run The Jewels this year, and played the Brainfeeder Festival in Oakland’s Fox Theatre in September 2016.