Earlier this month, Miguel released his new album War & Leisure to critical acclaim and glossy interviews in the Guardian, New York magazine, MTV News, Billboard, and more. Spin was readying one of those, for their November cover story, until some editors on staff remembered that Miguel had been accused of sexual assault earlier this year—a story that slipped under the radar of most every music blog, both big and small. It reasonably changed the tone of their profile.
In March, Xian Bass, a student at the University of New Mexico, posted the following message to Instagram, alleging that Miguel forcibly grabbed her breast and removed it from her shirt in a club:
Dear Miguel, I used to be a fan of your music. I was a fan of your music until you blatantly disrespected my body in a public place. There is nothing I did or said that warranted this disgusting display of entitlement, rape culture, and male privilege. I approached you respectfully and you still decided my body was not sacred enough to be treated as a human being. After we took this photo, you took it upon yourself to grab my breast and remove it from my shirt WITHOUT CONSENT. You then proceeded to look at my naked breast with such a disgusting look on your face. It’s still embedded in my memory. The sneer of your lip and salivating mouth is making my stomach turn. I really don’t understand why you would do that to someone who approached you as a fan. I’m beyond disgusted right now. Are you used to treating random female strangers this way? Have you gotten away with this in the past? Well, it stops HERE and NOW. I will not sit in shameful silence and allow sexual assault to be normalized.
The story was picked up by a select few gossip and news sites at the time, including BET and TMZ, but no one got a further on-record account from Bass, until Spin’s feature today. The Barstow, California Police Department confirmed to Spin that she filed on March 14, when an LAPD officer opened an investigation against Miguel. However, Bass says that she was told “other women have to come forward” in order for further action to be taken against Miguel. Bass, 31, told Spin about why she went back and forth about filing a police report, seeking healing and bringing the truth to light:
“I didn’t want to [file the report] because black lives matter,” said Bass. “I [didn’t] want to because I do not want to put another brown man in jail. I [didn’t] want to because I [didn’t] want to be re-traumatized by going to law enforcement. However, yes, I did. I didn’t want to, but I do know that for other people who may have been abused or assaulted or whatever, maybe this will help them as well.”
Bass said her motivation for speaking up is healing and truth. “Restorative justice calls in,” she explained. “When you call out your brother, you are also calling him in. You’re saying, ‘Come to this circle of healing.’” A health and human services major, she says wants to be tied to “releasing black people from the chains that bind them, the chains of intersectional racism and sexism between our gender relations.”
Miguel was asked by TMZ about the allegation back in March, which he didn’t deny outright, but brushed off as a ploy for attention (via Spin):
“I think we’re just in a time where just…people are really looking for attention in the wrong ways,” Miguel told the pap at the time. “In this age, I guess, you just gotta be more aware of how things can be and how things can be spun.” When asked, point blank about the veracity the claim–“One thousand percent, it didn’t happen?”–Miguel declined to deny it outright. “That’s not even it,” he said. “I don’t even feel like that’s a question anyone should ask.”
A publicist for Miguel shared the following statement from the singer with Spin for the piece:
“I felt I had already addressed how bizarre and twisted this accusation was when I was asked about it in March. Her story of what transpired is not accurate and the accusation is unfair and unwarranted.”
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