William Bensussen, the electronic music producer and longtime Low End Theory resident known as The Gaslamp Killer, has filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him last month on social media of drugging and raping them in 2013. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 13, names the two women, Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina, along with Tadros' boyfriend, Jack Wagner.
The 26-page suit, a copy of which was obtained by L.A. Weekly, seeks damages on seven counts, including defamation by libel, false light, interference with contractual relations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career, upended his personal life, and led to the cancellation of his shows,” Bensussen's attorney, Parag Amin, said via a written statement. “Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way — through a court of law, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for false statements.”
Tadros, Medina and Wagner did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Through a representative, Bensussen also declined to comment, instead referring to a press release that included statements from his attorney, Amin.
“False stories like the ones perpetrated by these two women further victimize real victims of assault,” Amin said.
Bensussen was first accused of rape on Oct. 12, by a woman then identified only as Chelsea, who posted a screenshot on Twitter of a lengthy statement in which she “falsely [claimed] that she and Medina were raped by Bensussen on July 5, 2013, after being drugged at the Standard hotel in downtown Los Angeles,” as described in the suit, which reprints the original accusation in full. In her statement, Tadros claimed after she and her friend, Medina, returned from the bathroom, Bensussen gave them drinks that had been spiked with some kind of drug. “That is the last clear memory I have,” she wrote, though she added that she had some hazy memories of being raped and “being so scared I couldn't speak.” After the incident, Tadros alleged that Bensussen dropped her and Medina back off at the Standard, and that she “was throwing up all night and had flu-like symptoms the entire day following.”
On Oct. 13, Bensussen released his own statement on Twitter denying the allegations. “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,” he wrote. “Chelsea's version of this story is not true.”
In an email to HipHopDX, Medina called Bensussen's response “disgusting and pathetic,” adding, “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.”
The defamation suit describes the July 5 meeting between Bensussen, Tadros and Medina at the Standard as taking place but asserts that the entire encounter was consensual. It names two witnesses, identified only as Christopher S. and Peter R., who have given sworn statements testifying that both women appeared to be in control of their faculties and interacted with Bensussen in a consensual manner. The suit also identifies social media posts from both Tadros' and Medina's accounts, since deleted, that appear to contradict Tadros' initial description of the encounter.
Reaction to the rape allegations was swift. Within a day, the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival canceled an entire Low End Theory showcase at which The Gaslamp Killer was scheduled to perform, and Low End Theory released its own statement announcing that it had “made the decision to part ways with William.” The Gaslamp Killer also was removed from the lineup of the Cloak & Dagger Festival, which took place the following weekend in downtown L.A., and from the lineup of Northern Bass, a New Year's Eve event in Australia. Since the allegations surfaced, Bensussen has not made any public appearances or performances as The Gaslamp Killer, or released any further statements after his initial denial.