The testimony of an Irish fan against lead singer Till Lindemann has encouraged dozens of women to share their experiences, revealing a systematic process of abuse.
Sexual assault allegations have been levelled at Till Lindemann, the frontman for German metal band Rammstein - the country’s best-known band around the world.
Twitter user Shelby Lynn, 24, has accused Lindermann, 60, and his crew on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, claiming that her drink was spiked with drugs when the Irish fan attended the band’s gig Vilnius, Lithuania, in “Row 0”.
“Row 0” is the name given to a special restricted space directly in front of the stage reserved for a group of women chosen by a person identified by Lynn as Alena Makeeva.
Makeeva, whose Instagram account reads “casting director”, reportedly uses social media to recruit young women for “Row 0”, so participants can celebrate with the musicians before or after the show.
“Alena Makeeva invited me to join her on row 0. I sent her a message on Instagram last week asking her how on earth to get to the after parties and that I would like to be considered. She asked my age and where I was from, and when I confirmed, she sent me a link to the WhatsApp group,” Lynn writes on Twitter.
Lynn says she was invited to a party, during which she met Lindemann, who wanted to have sex with her. The frontman reportedly acted aggressively when Lynn refused his advances. She suspects that her drink was spiked, as she has no memory of part of the evening and was left bruised after the concert. She also claims to have vomited for 24 hours after the gig.
She posted pictures of her injuries online and has filed a complaint.
Lynn’s testimony has triggered more reports, which have revealed that her case could be a part of a systematic process of abuse.
German public broadcaster NDR and daily Süddeutsche Zeitung published an exclusive report with more than a dozen testimonies of women whose experiences mirror Shelby Lynn's. The report uncovers a process to recruit attractive young women – many of them as young as 22 - as participants in after-show parties, who are reportedly offered alcohol and illegal drugs. The investigation reveals a recruitment system that enabled the artist to satisfy his sexual appetites with girls selected from social networks.
The women describe how they were approached by Rammstein's team, with some of them asked to send photos ahead of the event. The selected women said were asked to dress in a certain way and were given access to "Row 0" during the concert. One woman reports that she was directly informed that access to the party was only for those who were interested in having sex with Lindemann.
Cynthia A. (pseudonym), then aged 22, remembers a concert in 2020 during which Lindemann beckoned her to join him backstage. She recalls being taken into an adjoining room for a sexual encounter that she couldn't refuse. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this hurts, let's hope it's over soon'," she says. “Everything happened quickly and violently."
Rammstein posted a tweet in reaction to the allegations, on 28 May: "With regard to the allegations circulating on the internet about Vilnius, we can rule out the possibility that what is being claimed took place in our environment," they stated. "We are not aware of any official investigations into this matter."
The band has now issued a further statement saying they're taking the accusations very seriously, and that they want fans to feel safe both at the show and backstage. The band further states they "condemn any kind of transgression" and that they encourage fans not to be hostile toward those women who have come forward with allegations.
"The publications of the last few days have caused irritation and questions among the public and especially among our fans. The allegations hit us all very hard and we take them extremely seriously. We say to our fans: It is important to us that you feel comfortable and safe at our shows – in front of and behind the stage. We condemn any kind of transgression and ask you: do not engage in public prejudice of any kind against those who have made allegations. You have a right to your point of view. But we, the band, also have a right – namely not to be prejudiced either."
Many Rammstein fans have stated that band's Twitter posts were insufficient, with some ticketholders trying to get rid of their tickets for the current tour.
Amid the current accusations, a poem by Lindemann from 2020 is also being widely shared online, in which he wrote: "I like to sleep with you while you sleep ... A bit Rophynol in a glass of wine / You can't move at all / And you sleep, it's a blessing."
Following the reports, Lindemann has been dropped by his book publisher, Kiepenheuer & Witsch: “It is with shock that we have followed public allegations against Till Lindemann in the last few days. Our sympathy and respect goes to the women affected.”
Their statement continued: “In the course of current reporting, we became aware of a porn video in which Till Lindemann celebrates sexual violence against women and in which the 2013 book “In still night” published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch plays a role. We rate this as gross breach of trust and as a ruthless act in relation to the values we represent as a publisher. We defend the freedom of art with full conviction. Through Till Lindemann’s actions that humiliate women in the aforementioned porn and the targeted use of our book in a pornographic context, the separation between the “lyrical I” and the author/artist, which we so staunchly defended, is mocked by the author himself. From our point of view, Till Lindemann exceeds immovable limits in dealing with women. We have therefore decided to end our collaboration with Till Lindemann with immediate effect, as our relationship of trust with the author has been irretrievably broken.”
Rammstein's European stadium tour kicked off in Vilnius on 22 May and is currently set to continue across Europe throughout the summer.