UPDATED JULY 10 WITH JOAN JETT STATEMENT: “Anyone who truly knows me understands that if I was aware of a friend or bandmate being violated, I would not stand by while it happened. For a group of young teenagers thrust into ‘70s rock stardom there were relationships that were bizarre, but I was not aware of this incident. Obviously Jackie’s story is extremely upsetting and although we haven’t spoken in decades, I wish her peace and healing.” UPDATED WITH CHERIE CURRIE STATEMENT JULY 11: ““I have been accused of a crime. Of looking into the dead yet pleading eyes of a girl, unable to move while she was brutally raped and doing nothing. I have never been one to deny my mistakes in life and I wouldn’t start now. If I were guilty, I would admit it. There are so many excuses I could make being only one month into my sixteenth year at the time that people would understand but I am innocent. When I return from Sweden I will seek a qualified polygraph examiner to put to rest any and all allegations. I will make public the questions, answers and results of that test. I am a proud person but for this, I may need to open a Fund Me account since I do not know how much this will cost. I am not a rich person but a carver. I wouldn’t ask for funding for my new album because I am proud. I will prove I am telling the truth. I will not allow anyone to throw me under the bus and accuse me of such a foul act. I will fight for myself. It is the only thing I can do.”
Jackie Fox in 1977 (photo: FilmMagic/Brad Elterman)
Ex-Runaways bassist Jacqueline Fuchs, formerly known as Jackie Fox, has come forward with a shocking allegation that she was drugged and raped at age 16 at a hotel afterparty by the Runaways’ infamous Svengali manager Kim Fowley — while her then-bandmates Joan Jett and Cherie Currie looked on.
The claim was published Wednesday in a powerful and disturbing HuffPost Highline longread report by Jason Cherkis titled “The Lost Girls.” Fuchs’s tale of being dosed with Quaaludes and raped by Fowley in front of onlookers on New Year’s Eve 1975 — a tale corroborated in the report by several witnesses, including Runaways co-founder/onetime lyricist Kari Krome — is truly harrowing.
“You don’t know what terror is until you realize something bad is about to happen to you and you can’t move a muscle,” Fuchs, who eventually quit the Runaways in 1977 after a much-publicized meltdown during a Japanese tour, tells Cherkis. “I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me… I can’t move. I can’t speak. All I can do is look him in the eye and do the best I can do to communicate: please say no … I don’t know what it looked like from the outside. But I know what was going on inside and it was horror.“
Cherkis describes the scene thusly: "On the bed, Fowley played to the crowd, gnashing his teeth and growling like a dog as he raped Jackie. He got up at one point to strut around the room before returning to Jackie’s body.”
Jackie Fox in 1977 (photo: FilmMagic/Brad Elterman)
According to Cherkis’s article, Fuchs was inspired to come forward, 40 years after the alleged rape, because of recent high-profile sexual assault cases like the ones involving Bill Cosby, Kesha producer Dr. Luke, and various college campuses. “Jackie saw herself in those young women and knew all the hurt and shame that awaited them. ‘They have to be making the same value judgments about themselves as I made about me… I know from personal experience how all those things can eat away at you. They can take vibrant young people and turn them into something else,’” Cherkis writes.
In the “Lost Girls” article, Jett denies “witnessing the event as it has been described here,” although Cherkis writes that Jett allegedly told one witness that he “needed to deny being in the motel room that night” if Fuchs tried to sue. Currie says she did protest and “stormed out of the room” the night of the incident, and says Fuchs later blocked her from writing about the attack in her memoir. Another Runaway, Lita Ford, was reportedly not in the room that night.
In the same article, Krome, who met Fowley when she was just 13 and initially served as the Runaways’ lyricist, and a fan named Audrey Pavia, who met Fowley backstage at a Runaways show in 1975 when she was an 18-year-old virgin, also claim that they were sexually assaulted by Fowley on different occasions.
Kim Fowley in 2008 (photo: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns)
Kim Fowley died of cancer in January this year, at age 75, and shortly before his death he surprisingly reconciled with Currie, producing her comeback album and even staying her home in hospice care. Currie told Yahoo Music earlier this year: "I started thinking back to what it must have been like for Kim, being in his early thirties, dealing with five girls that were just coming into womanhood, and knowing he had a terrible childhood himself; he was abused and his parents were never there. I started to think, 'Wow, you know he did the very best he could. He was actually trying to protect us.’ That’s why he treated us the way he did. He wanted us to develop a tough skin, because he knew that being teenagers and being out there on the road was going to be hard for us. He knew we were in for an ass-kicking, and he was right. I finally realized I had to forgive him, for my sake. I couldn’t continue to hold onto all that resentment, even though he did things that were not right.”
During his lifetime, Fowley consistently denied sexually abusing any of the Runaways. In a 2013 band biography, he stated, “They can talk about it until the cows come home but, in my mind, I didn’t make love to anybody in the Runaways nor did they make love to me" — although his detractors might argue that “make love” is hardly an apt term for what Fuchs says happened to her in an Orange County hotel room in 1975.
Yahoo Music reached out to Jett and Currie’s camps; both artists declined to comment on this story, although a rep said Cherkis was told “repeatedly” that Jett “has absolutely no recollection of any of this.”