Alice Glass, former vocalist for the witch-house duo Crystal Castles, has accused her former bandmate Ethan Kath (real name Claudio Palmieri) of sexual assault. On Tuesday, she posted a note to her website that outlines nearly a decade of alleged sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Glass left Crystal Castes in 2014, which she co-founded with Palmieri in 2006, and later suggested that “manipulative” statements and behavior led to her departure.
Glass explains why she previously withheld details of Palmieri’s behavior. “I’ve been very guarded about the information I’ve given and I haven’t publicly named names—because I’ve been afraid. I’ve been threatened and harassed and as a result, out of fear, I’ve been silenced.” She says that the recent swell in abuse allegations has moved her to speak out, as a step in her own recovery and to empower other women in abusive relationships to take action.
She alleges that the abusive behavior began soon after she met him in the 10th grade:
“The first time he took advantage of me was when I was around 15. He was 10 years older than me. I came to in the back of his car extremely intoxicated (from drinks he had given me that night). We didn’t talk for months after that. He went to great lengths to find me again, stalking me and driving past my high school looking for me.”
From there, Palmieri allegedly “figured out [her] insecurities and exploited them,” leading to more sexual encounters with Glass in which she was intoxicated. “It wasn’t always consensual and he remained sober whenever we were together.”
The degree of control she outlines is not unlike what R. Kelly’s accusers have described; Glass writes that Palmieri became physically abusive, threatening to drop her down a staircase or throwing her onto concrete. He allegedly restricted most aspects of her life and continued to abuse Glass:
“I wasn’t allowed to have my own phone or my own credit card, he decided who my friends were, read through my private emails, restricted my access to social media, regulated everything I ate. He berated me and yelled at me, telling me that I was a joke, that all the people that came to our shows were only interested in his instrumentals and that I was ruining the band. He broke glass shower doors to frighten me, he locked me into rooms. He told me that my feminism made me a target for rapists and only he could protect me. He forced me to have sex with him or, he said, I wouldn’t be allowed to be in the band anymore.”
Glass ends the note by wrestling with her departure, explaining that it was a difficult but necessary choice for her survival:
Leaving Crystal Castles was the single most difficult decision I’ve ever made—that band was everything to me. My music, my performances and my fans were all I had in the world. I gave that up and started over not because I wanted to but because I had to. As difficult as it was, I knew that leaving was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has taken me years to recover from enduring almost a decade of abuse, manipulation and psychological control. I am still recovering.
Speaking to Pitchfork, Palmieri responded to the allegations through his lawyer:
“I am outraged and hurt by the recent statements made by Alice about me and our prior relationship,” he said. “Her story is pure fiction and I am consulting my lawyers as to my legal options. Fortunately, there are many witnesses who can and will confirm that I was never abusive to Alice.”
Read Glass’ full statement here.
Update (10.25, 3:30 p.m.): All of the band’s remaining North American tour dates were canceled after Glass’ statement, as Stereogum reported last night. However, it was unclear if the band would still perform at New Orleans’ Voodoo Festival on October 28.
This afternoon, Voodoo confirmed that Crystal Castles would not be performing at the festival. Read their full statement below.