L.A. Electronic Musician White Rainbow Accused of Brutal Domestic Assault

Adam Forkner, aka White Rainbow, as seen on the cover his 2012 EP, Trick Shot
Adam Forkner, aka White Rainbow, as seen on the cover his 2012 EP, Trick Shot

UPDATE March 24, 2016: A spokesman for the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, Frank Mateljan, has confirmed to L.A. Weekly that Christine Messersmith attempted to press charges against Adam Forkner, but that the case was rejected due to "low likelihood of conviction based on the evidence." 

The former girlfriend of Adam Forkner, an L.A. experimental electronic musician who performs under the name White Rainbow, alleges that Forkner viciously assaulted her while the couple were at home last month.

"Adam Forkner (aka white rainbow), my boyfriend for the last 7 months, repeatedly beat me senseless in February,” a Facebook post written early Tuesday by Christine Messersmith read.

Describing one of the alleged assaults, Messersmith wrote, "The attack lasted for 15 minutes; cornering me and smashing my face and body into objects and the floor, running from him from room to room until I was forced into my closet and called the police. When I asked him how he could do this to me, he later said he went into a black-out rage; he simply could not recall much of it, indicating a deep and troubling psychosis."

Messersmith also accused Forkner of attacking her several times earlier in their relationship, including once in Portland, Oregon, in October. She wrote on Facebook that she decided to make her experiences with Forkner public in part because she saw that since she had ended their relationship, he was once again active on dating websites.

"When I reached out for help after the first attack, and found none, I believed there must be something wrong with me," Messersmith wrote. "When his friends tried to figure out why he did that, they suggested to each other it must be because I'm flirtatious (bros still love pulling the slut card as much as they ever did)."

Messersmith's post featured pictures of her injuries, which include two black eyes and various scrapes and bruises on her arms and legs. She noted in the post that she has pressed charges against Forkner.

She wrote that since the incident, she’s been living in an Airbnb and has been “relying on the kindness of my close friends and family.” She added that she had spoken with Forkner’s parents and some friends, a few of whom, she says, encouraged her not to report the incident.

She alleges that Forkner apparently was angry that Messersmith had "called out ... a horribly sexist act" at a comedy show they were both attending, put on by friends of his.

Forkner has released psychedelic electronic and ambient music under the White Rainbow moniker since 2004, spending most of his career in Portland. He’s made albums for labels including Kranky, Marriage Records and Gnar Tapes while releasing much of his other work himself. Before going solo, he played in the buzzy Portland-based shoegaze band Yume Bitsu, who were signed to K Records in the late ’90s and early ’00s.

Forkner's most recent release was a cassette for L.A.-based electronic label Leaving Records called 21 Exoticism ESCAP. Leaving, which is distributed by Stones Throw Records, says it has already removed the title from its catalog; a Google link to the record now returns an error page. "In light of the events presented, worldwide removal of our White Rainbow title has begun," owner Matthewdavid wrote on the label's Facebook page. "Leaving Records does not support violence against women, whatsoever."

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White Rainbow reportedly was dropped from a scheduled gig at the Los Globos club in Silver Lake Wednesday night. Dublab radio, where Forkner hosts a monthly show, says it is cutting ties with the musician indefinitely.

Forkner did not reply to an email seeking comment.

Messersmith could not be reached for comment, either, but her Facebook post has roughly 400 shares and counting. "I will not remain silent because someone is so well liked within an artistic community,” she wrote on Facebook. "Too often do men who have never had a single consequence due to the privilege of their art and trust fund get away with such monstrosities.”  

Messersmith's original post came with an all-caps warning to "only repost this if you believe in nonviolence," and in a follow-up post on Wednesday afternoon, she elaborated on her feelings on how Forkner should be viewed in the wake of her accusations. "This was not meant to turn into a witchhunt, but if you ask me if I care about his well-being; I do. Which is why I posted it. Someone who is in denial can not begin to deal with their serious problems until they get a blinding light of reality forced upon them.

"Knowing Adam, this of course will destroy his life," she added. "But i hope when that is over and he is left with nothing, that the concept of empathy or compassion will enter him for the first time, as I have never known him to be a compassionate individual. Lack of empathy and an attitude of entitlement breeds psychosis. That is the base of this tragedy. No more wolfpack bro mentality bullshit either. That shit needs to end yesterday."

[Update: This post has been amended to clarify the attribution of certain statements. It also has been modified to remove a portion of Messersmith's claims.]

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