11 accuse former Lumineers manager of sexual assault
Following the accusations of five women last month, a further six have come forward this week to speak out about the alleged sexual assault and sexual misconduct they endured at the hands of former Lumineers manager David Meinert. The reported events, now coming from a total of 11 different women, date from 2001 to 2015.
The alleged events from each accuser were recounted in detail and supported with secondary sources by Seattle-based news organisation KUOW. The accounts include non-consensual genital touching, forcible and non-consenual kissing, attempted forcing of oral sex and even repeated slapping when one woman rejected his aggressive advances. Meinert, 52, is also said to have threatened two other women upon learning they had told friends about their assaults.
Five of the six most recent accusers have come forward publicly – they include musician Erryn Young, Seattle Times food critic Bethany Jean Clement, Umami Seattle (a catering company) founder Elise Ballard, Urban Artworks board chair Rebecca Jacobs and political operative and adjunct Bellevue College faculty member Maria Leininger. A sixth, named only as Jenna, withheld her second name out of fear of the stigma still attached to sexual assault victims.
The KUOW report told of how he acted “contrite” when questioned, and admitted “to being a jerk to women, to making off-colour sexist remarks, to being ‘handsy’.”
Last month, Meinert was interviewed twice by KUOW in response to the initial five allegations. He denied rape and sexual assault. The KUOW report told of how he acted “contrite” when questioned, and admitted “to being a jerk to women, to making off-colour sexist remarks, to being ‘handsy’.” Despite this, he went on to say he didn’t know why the accusations were being made against him, and that he “didn’t recall” any instances of inappropriate behaviour.
In the aftermath of the initial five accusations last month, and the further six this week, Meinert’s Seattle-based businesses have suffered a sharp downturn. Of his management company Onto Entertainment, three acts have left, including – according to their band representative – the Lumineers. Elsewhere, his restaurant and club empire has crumbled. In the cases of Comet Tavern, Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, Grim’s and Queer/Bar, he has been barred from entering the premises.
Meinert is just the latest name to come unstuck in the music world in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Since last year, repeated scandals have revealed the extent to which sexual misconduct, assault and harassment permeate the entertainment industries. Post-#MeToo, responses have included improved reporting and support services and campaigns to tackle harassment.
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