L.A. electronic musician Adam Forkner, who performs under the name White Rainbow, will not be charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Christine Messersmith, according to a spokesman for the L.A. City Attorney's office. However, Messersmith tells L.A. Weekly that she still plans to pursue legal action against Forkner for allegedly attacking her at the couple's shared apartment in February.
Messersmith filed a formal report with the LAPD to press charges against Forkner on Feb. 18, three days after the alleged assault. However, the case was rejected by the L.A. City Attorney’s office earlier this month due to “low likelihood of conviction based on the evidence,” according to spokesman Frank Mateljan.
As previously reported, Messersmith published a Facebook post on March 15 publicly accusing Forkner of beating her. “The attack lasted for 15 minutes; cornering me and smashing my face and body into objects and the floor,” Messersmith wrote.
Forkner has not replied to direct requests for comment. An attorney with the firm that represents Forkner told L.A. Weekly they would not comment on the case.
The incident, Messersmith says, was sparked during a show Forkner was DJing at the Satellite on Feb. 14, featuring the local comedy group 2 Wet Crew and a lineup of supporting comedians and performers. Messersmith says she walked out of the performance after becoming upset at one of the acts. According to the police report Messersmith filed, and which she provided a copy of to L.A. Weekly, the couple later became “engaged in a verbal dispute,” during which Messersmith hit Forkner in the face. Forkner then pushed her to the ground with both arms, according to the report.
The report says Messersmith hit Forkner while they were in the car, and that Forkner followed her into the house, where he attacked her. Pictures Messersmith shared on Facebook show her with two black eyes and scrapes and bruises on her arms and legs, injuries she claims she sustained during the attack.
Messersmith says she is looking to hire permanent counsel to pursue further legal action against Forkner. “It's a matter of principle,” she says. “The legal system is there to protect people. It's not like a marijuana case — it's a person who hurts people, and it's disappointing that the city has taken such a lax approach.”
An Indiegogo campaign set up by friends of Messersmith has raised nearly $2,000 to help her with her living expenses; she says that since the incident, she has been floating between residences and living out of her car.
Since her original Facebook post, several L.A. institutions, including Dublab radio, record label Leaving Records and the aforementioned 2 Wet Crew comedy group, have cut ties with Forkner. Management at Dublab confirmed in an email to L.A. Weekly that Forkner had been dropped from the programming schedule; Leaving Records issued a Facebook post publicly announcing that its White Rainbow release had been removed from its catalog.
In an email to L.A. Weekly, 2 Wet Crew issued the following statement: “2 Wet Crew does not support domestic violence in any way and strives to make offbeat, lighthearted comedy. Any type of violence or abuse is the antithesis to our goals. Adam is no longer going to be associated with 2 Wet Crew (DJing preshow music or attending shows).”
The Portland-based States Rights label also released a statement via Twitter saying it has removed past White Rainbow releases from its catalog. “Learning that somebody I've known and called a friend for close to 20 years is abusive to women is shocking, totally sickening (spiritually and physically), and heartbreaking,” the statement read in part.
Calvin Johnson, the head of K Records, another of Forkner’s former labels, initially tweeted support for the artist but later deleted the tweet. “It was wrong to show public support in any way to Adam. I deeply regret doing so,” Johnson tweeted to another user. Johnson did not respond to requests for comment. [Update: Johnson responded to L.A. Weekly after this article was published, but had nothing further to add.]