US indie musician Ariel Pink has been accused of physically, sexually and emotionally abusing Charlotte Ercoli Coe, his former bandmate and girlfriend. He denies the allegations, calling them “intentionally false, misleading and defamatory”.
In court documents from Los Angeles County Superior Court, first reported by Pitchfork, Coe accuses Pink – real name Ariel Rosenberg, 42 – of battery following an onstage incident in 2017; of “bullying” her into having unprotected sex and transmitting herpes to her as a result; and of distributing explicit images of her to his fans. She also alleges he harassed her following the end of their relationship, in person and via text message.
The allegations came to light after the court denied Rosenberg a restraining order against Coe. He had claimed he was being harassed by her, and that she was attempting to blackmail him. The court determined that Coe be paid her legal costs, and did not comment on the broader allegations. Rosenberg’s lawyer told Pitchfork they would appeal the decision, and he is able to refile the restraining order request.
Appended to the court documents are text messages allegedly sent to Coe’s aunt by Rosenberg, in which he admits to distributing the images of Coe and infecting her with herpes. It is understood Pink disputes these text messages.
He previously apologised for the 2017 stage incident, saying soon afterwards: “My behaviour onstage was gross and I can’t defend it.” At the time, Coe brushed off the incident as “all in good fun”, but now says she was pressured by Rosenberg into making that statement.
In his own court filing, Rosenberg denied all of the allegations. He said Coe was aware of his herpes diagnosis, and that the images were not explicit and only shared with one individual. Appealing for the restraining order, he accused Coe of “wrongful conduct that continues to threaten and harm” him.
Sometimes releasing music under the name Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Rosenberg is a critically acclaimed artist known for a series of lo-fi recordings beginning in the late 1990s. In 2010 he signed to indie label 4AD, and broke through to a wider audience that year with his album Before Today.
He later signed to the label Mexican Summer. Last week the label announced they were no longer working with him, after he was pictured attending the pro-Trump protests at the Capitol building in Washington alongside musician John Maus and film-maker Alex Lee Moyer. The trio were not part of the group who stormed the building itself.
Pink said he attended to “peacefully show my support for the president”. Later, in an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, he complained that his label “succumbed to cancel culture” by dropping him, and that he had received death threats in the wake of attending the protest, saying “the hate is just overwhelming”.
The Guardian has contacted Rosenberg’s lawyer for further comment.