Los Angeles experimental hip-hop producer The Gaslamp Killer has filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against the two women who accused the musician of rape in a Twitter post last month.
The producer (real name: William Bensussen) filed the case Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court against Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina, the two women who accused Bensussen of rape, and Tadros' boyfriend Jack Wagner. The causes of action include defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
"I've been silently suffering over this for many years. the gaslamp killer drugged and raped my best friend and myself 4 years ago," Tadros wrote on Twitter last month. Tadros accused Bensussen of drugging her and Medina's drinks while at a hotel party in 2013. Bensussen is alleged to have had "non-consensual sex with both of us while we were completely incapacitated." Her account of the alleged rape soon went viral.
Bensussen denied the allegations on Twitter the next day, writing that, "Chelsea's version of this story is not true ... In this case consent was between three people, in the form of an offer which I accepted ... I would never drug a woman, and I would never put anyone in a situation where they were not in control, or take anything that they weren’t offering."
In an e-mail to HipHopDX later that week, Medina replied, "I have seen the statement. I think it is disgusting and pathetic. The only thing that is clear in his statement is that he’s admitting to the fact that he was there and that it happened. There was no 'offer' and since Chelsea and I were incapacitated, obviously zero consent."
In the suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, Bensussen calls the allegations "malicious and fabricated" and claims to have two witness statements, including a friend of Medina, verifiying that the sexual encounter was consensual. In a statement, Bensussan's lawyer, Parag Amin, added that these witnesses will corroborate that the accusers "had fullcontrol of their faculties both immediately before and afterward."
Tadros' boyfriend Wagner is also named in the suit for, in part, disseminating Wagner's tweet, with the suit claiming, "Wagner is notorious for creating public hysteria by fabricating sensational news stories. In a profile of him, Playboy magazine called him the 'Andy Kaufman of the internet' and quoted him as saying, 'I have always been doing things that involve manipulating large groups of people into a weird, larger joke.' However, there is nothing funny about disseminating false rape allegations or about encouraging death threats."
Tadros declined to comment. Medina and Wagner did not reply to Rolling Stone's multiple requests for comment.
Following Tadros' allegation, Low End Theory, the popular Los Angeles DJ showcase where Bensussen frequently performed, decided to "part ways" with the musician. Bensussen says he was also dropped by his record label.
"By publishing these defamatory statements on the internet, especially on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, defendants published and communicated these defamatory statements to the entire world," the suit says. "Defendants' defamatory statements were published for the sole purpose of getting media attention at the expense of Bensussan's career, reputation, livelihood and well-being."
The suit further claims that Tadros, Medina and Wagner "have taken advantage of the current political climate regarding sexual allegations against various public figures to throw themselves into the public spotlight. For these reasons Tadros, Medina and Wagner acted with malice, oppression, fraud and conscious disregard for Bensussan rights as a human being."
"These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career,upended his personal life and led to the cancellation of his shows,” Amin said in a statement. "Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way – through a court oflaw, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for falsestatements."