Music Publicist Accused Of Sexual Harassment By Dirty Projectors Member Amber Coffman

Amber Coffman Dirty Projectors Life Or Death PR Sexual Harrassment

Last night on Twitter Amber Coffman, one of the members of Brooklyn-based band Dirty Projectors, began tweeting about her experience with music publicist Heathcliff Berru of Life or Death PR and Management. Coffman recalled an incident where the publicist rubbed her ass and bit her hair, in front of several of her male friends.

After Coffman shared her experience, another LA-based music publicist, Beth Martinez, replied that she had a similar experience:

Martinez also shared her experience being roofied in Los Angeles and her concerns that it was related.

Other women in the music industry, including publicist Judy Silverman of Motormouth Media, and Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast also commented:

Life or Death PR is a prominent, successful PR company, and has an extensive roster, including acts like D’Angelo, Odd Future, Killer Mike, Kelela, Speedy Ortiz, Wavves, DIIV and Wet. We have reached out for comment from Life or Death and will update accordingly if we hear from them.

UPDATE: Since publishing this, Coffman has responded to the coverage of her story, and said Domino Records chose to discontinue working with Life or Death after she told them about her experience.

Several other women and musicians have also shared their stories (full disclosure, Theo Karatzas is a close friend of mine):

UPDATE #2: Roxy Lange reached out to me via email to share her assault story:

Heathcliff Beru sexually assaulted me when I first moved to NYC in 2007, I was 21 years-old. He kept trying to force me to give him a blowjob in a cab and wouldn’t stop pushing my head into his lap forcefully, with his pants unzipped and penis out in the open. After I got out of the cab, he followed me up 3 flights of stairs and forced his way into my apartment, attempting to force himself on me but he was luckily too drunk and coked up to get hard so he gave up. He then pissed himself and fell asleep in my bed while I laid there, a very drunk 21 year-old experiencing NY nightlife for the first time and this happened to me. About a year ago, I ran into him while grocery shopping in Silver Lake with his wife and he hugged me, I wanted to throw up. I repressed this memory for so long and always assumed that I brought this upon myself because I was very drunk that evening but that’s not the case at all. He’s a disgusting, loser scumbag who doesn’t respect women. It pains me to know that there are others out there who have been violated by Berru, it makes me sick to my stomach.

UPDATE #3: Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, DIIV and Wavves have addressed their respective situations with Life Or Death:

UPDATE #4: Heathcliff Berru has stepped down as the CEO of Life or Death PR, and the company has issued the following statement (via Pitchfork):

Life or Death has a zero tolerance policy for the type of conduct alleged in today’s on-line postings. We take these allegations very seriously. The men and women who make up this company do not, and will not, condone or tolerate any conduct described in the on-line postings. Life Or Death is 3 men and 3 women who are committed to promoting art and serving the clients that we’re so privileged to represent. We are taking measures to ensure that the alleged behavior did not, and will not, make its way into company operations or impact our commitment to promoting art and assisting our clients. We are grateful to Heathcliff Berru for all the work he’s done to date and his creative vision at the company. We appreciate and support his decision to step down as CEO of Life Or Death.

UPDATE #5: Speedy Ortiz and Kelela have also announced they will no longer be working with Life or Death PR:

UPDATE #6: Berru issued his own statement to LA Weekly:

There have been several reports about my alleged inappropriate behavior 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. 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 behavior. Nevertheless, I do not want to be the type of person who would let drugs or alcohol take command of his life and compromise how he treats people. Yet I have been this person and it’s time to put a stop to all of this. Create a world with one less inappropriate man.

I have been fighting a losing battle against drugs and alcohol for many years and will be checking into a rehabilitation facility in the hope that I can improve my chances of winning that fight. A year ago, I was confronted by a peer and began to try to clean up and make things right with therapy and with an eye towards quitting the addiction. The shame and sadness feels as strong now as it did then and I am making an immediate change.

I have already lost my wife, abandoned my family, and destroyed those I love as a result of my shameful, embarrassing, unacceptable behavior. I deeply apologize to them as well. By no means do they deserve to feel the pain of my actions. Please give them the space they deserve. They were the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I was married during some of these years and hid my problems from everyone well. Especially her and her family. Totally inexcusable.

In no way do these allegations reflect on Life or Death PR, its staff, or anyone associated with the company. These are my issues, not theirs. I could not be more proud of the company and what it stands for. That being said I have stepped down as the CEO and relinquishing all responsibility to the current president, Nick Dierl. The company shouldn’t have to deal with this distraction and I want Nick and the rest of the team to continue to do their good work while I take care of myself.

In the meantime, Chelsea Wolfe shared her own story:

And Coffman commented:

UPDATE #7: Killer Mike has issued a statement supporting his friend Cliff, and commending Amber’s bravery in coming forward:

I have set my DMs public if anyone else wants to contact me in connection to this story please do so either there or by email at Can be on or off the record — if you just need to talk to someone I am here for that, too.

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  1. thank you for reporting on this and helping more women open up and tell their stories. we need to support these women and help make the whole world be a safe space. and love love love to Judy at Motormouthmedia, you are amazing.

  2. Not surprised at all. Met that guy at a bar years ago and he aggressively tried to get me to “hang out” via text and Facebook messages for weeks after. Learned from a friend afterwards that he had a fiance/long term girlfriend the entire time.

  3. With this guy running amok for years, why did these bands ever hire this dickhead’s company in the first place?

    I find it hard to believe that this wasn’t common knowledge in the tight indie PR world. You’d think bands would get tipped off that they’re working with a sexual predator.

    • It was very common knowledge, but the women involved didn’t want to speak for fear of jeopardizing their careers. You can’t demand women give up their passions because of a man. The onus was on men, both at LoD and on the roster, to do something about this. Women can’t speak for other women.

      • ” but the women involved didn’t want to speak for fear of jeopardizing their careers. ”

        Cop out. Someone should have said something. Man or woman.

        Maybe this jackass might not have assaulted one more person than he did if someone had the nerve to not let wrongs go unaccounted for.

  4. I am angry. I am so angry that a-holes like this can run around, consequence-free for years and years, and it takes a much-later offhand twitter confessional before the whole lid gets blown off.

    Come on. This scumbag should have been taken down years ago. Especially if his behavior was such a “open secret”.

  5. Wait a minute, Life Or Death: you “appreciate” the work and creative vision of a sexual predator? Get the fuck out of here with that tone deaf, grossly inappropriate bullshit. Given that some of the stories about Berru have been sat on for *years* and Berru was one of the dudes in charge at Life Or Death, I find it really hard to believe nobody at the firm knew about what he was doing. Most likely he was given the same “pass” that sexually predating douchebro assholes like him tend to get when they’re in power.

  6. Why don’t the women he assaulted goto the police and handle the situation properly? Withholding judgment on whether this individual is guilty or not guilty, I think it’s sad that 2 or 3 people can post something & it’s considered by the public to be absolute truth. Innocent until proven guilty, right?

    • Wrong. The burden of proof a person with good sense should require before deciding someone is a predatory creep who deserves to be called out as such and shunned by business partners is not at all the same as the burden of proof required to send someone to prison. Consider the fact that several women have come forward on penalty of slander and slut-shaming to share very difficult narratives about being victimized by this man, and the fact that he immediately stepped down — that won’t be sufficient to imprison the man, but it sure as hell should be enough for private citizens to cut business ties and tell their female friends and family to steer well clear of this bro.

        • “The “penalty of slander and slut-shaming” rarely (if ever) happens.”
          Spoken like a true blinkered MRA idiot. Amazing. Maybe you could fuck off to Return Of Kings and leave the adults to have a conversation eh?

          I’m just guessing here, but I’m assuming you think Bill Cosby is innocent right?

  7. It’s awful this still happens, but exciting that the time is coming to a close where those in a position of power are no longer able to continue this behavior without the backlash of an internet that isn’t down with that shit.

  8. Life and Death is a very small company. You know how people at work know each other’s business. It seems inconceivable that someone didn’t know what was going on. I am not saying that is is impossible that the company didn’t know I am just saying it is highly suspect. I know that “whistle blowing” as they say is difficult. It pits people against each other and it usually ends up in you losing your job especially when it is the CEO who is doing inappropriate stuff. While this may not rise to the cover up that probably was in place with Bill Crosby it is really the same thing, that is….. if this was going on. Ok, my two cents.