WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault and/or violence allegations which may be triggering to survivors
Swans frontman Michael Gira has cancelled upcoming solo shows in Australia amidst growing attention around a rape allegation made against him last week by singer-songwriter Larkin Grimm.
Gira was due to appear in shows at Brisbane’s QAGOMA, Sydney’s Carriageworks, and the Melbourne Recital Centre this month, but information about each event has now been removed from the venues’ websites with the Recital Centre announcing their event has been cancelled “due to circumstances beyond the Centre’s control.”
Grimm accused Gira of raping her in a distressing Facebook post last Friday, stating that he engaged in non-consensual sex with her one night in 2008 when she had stayed at his friends’ place.
“At the apartment of Michael’s friends, I crawled into bed without changing my clothes or brushing my teeth. I just passed out,” she writes. “A little later Michael woke me up coughing. He had bad asthma, and sleeping on the floor in the dust was aggravating it. I told him, slurred, half asleep, that he could sleep in the bed, just not to touch me. A little bit later I woke up with his penis inside me, no condom. As I opened my eyes, he said, ‘Uh, this doesn’t feel right,’ and he pulled out.”
Grimm goes on to write that Gira had begged her not to tell his wife what had happened and that, apart from one song straight after the incident, she was unable to write “for a few years” and “spent the next 6 months in a suicidal depression”. According to the post, Gira continued to make sexual advances towards Grimm, but she “never consented to having sex with him”.
Grimm prefaced her post by saying her collaboration with Gira on her album Parplar was “beautiful” and “fruitful”, describing him as her “guru”. She goes on to say she “didn’t want to destroy his whole life with a rape charge” but “he didn’t think twice about destroying [hers].”
Gira has since hit back at the allegations, stating in a Facebook post on the Swans’ page:
“Re the horrible and untrue accusations from Larkin Grimm: I am completely shocked myself. This is a slanderous lie. I will respond vigorously to defend my name against this horrible slur.”
He later released an official statement through Howlin’ Wuelf Media PR:
“Eight years ago, while I was still married to my first wife, Larkin Grimm and I headed towards a consensual romantic moment that fortunately was not consummated. As she wrote in her recent social media postings about that night, I said to her, “this doesn’t feel right,” and abruptly but completely our only intimate encounter ended. It was an awkward mistake.”
In an interview with Pitchfork, Grimm describes Gira’s statement is an “admission of guilt” and says it highlights that more education is needed around what constitutes consensual sex and what doesn’t.
“In a gentlemanly move he admits the act happened but cannot conceive of himself as a rapist,” she said. “Thank you Michael Gira for your honesty. This is your truth as you remember it. Unfortunately, this was still rape.”
The singer’s Facebook post accusing Gira of rape was preceded by a post in which Grimm calls out “a traumatic incidence of sexual harassment” she experienced from fellow member of music group Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Thomas Sayers Ellis.
Grimm has since released a song dedicated to survivors of sexual abuse titled I don’t believe.
For those needing assistance, 1800 Respect – the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service – can be reached on 1800 737 732.