Music publicity CEO steps down after musicians accuse him of sexual assault

Amber coffman dirty projectorsNoel Vasquez/Getty ImagesAmber Coffman of the band Dirty Projectors.

Heathcliff Berru, the CEO of Life or Death PR and Management, has stepped down amid accusations of sexual harassment from musicians.

In a series of tweets Monday night, Amber Coffman from the band Dirty Projectors told a story of a time when Berru allegedly “rubbed my arse and bit my hair at a bar a couple years ago.” Coffman said she decided to speak up now because she noticed that he was still working in the industry with people she knew.

Life or Death has represented a number of notable artists from the indie-rock and hip-hop worlds including D’Angelo, DIIV, and Tyler, the Creator — some of whom are reportedly cutting their ties with the company in light of accusations about Berru.

“I’ve been told many women have had scary stories about him for years but are scared to speak up,” Coffman said. “And dudes overlook it and keep hiring him. Tired of sketchy arse dudes and sexual predators getting a pass from their ‘bros.’ Grow a spine and hold your friends accountable.”

Other women, including Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Danger Village PR publicist Beth Martinez, recounted similar experiences with Berru on Twitter.

Cosentino called Beru a “scumbag.” Martinez alleged that “he repeatedly put his hand down my shirt while driving me home after I told him to stop many times” and told her not to tell a mutual friend. She also claimed she is “fairly certain I’ve been roofied by him or members of his crew on more than one occasion.”

Life or Death PR issued a statement Tuesday night saying it’s “grateful” for the company Berru founded in 2008 and “appreciate and support” him stepping down from his position.

“The men and women who make up this company do not, and will not, condone or tolerate any conduct described in the online postings,” the statement said. “We are taking measures to ensure that the alleged behaviour did not, and will not, make its way into company operations or impact our commitment to promoting art and assisting our clients.”

Berru issued his own statement Wednesday morning revealing his alcohol and drug addiction and said he will be going to rehab.

He responded to the allegations of harassment but denied drugging anyone.

“There have been several reports about my alleged inappropriate behaviour 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,” he said. “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 behaviour.”

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