German prosecutors are reportedly investigating Till Lindemann, frontman of German industrial-metal outfit Rammstein, after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual assault.
“Preliminary proceedings have been initiated against Till Lindemann on allegations relating to sexual offences and the distribution of narcotics,” reads a statement from the Berlin public prosecution’s office, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.
The probe follows a wave of sexual misconduct accusations posted online, and includes one woman’s claim that she had been drugged and propositioned by Lindemann at a backstage party in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Waving the right to anonymity, Shelby Lynn, from Northern Ireland, told the BBC she she was recruited and “groomed” for sex with the singer after the concert in May. Lynn claimed her drink was spiked at the show, but says she wasn’t sexually assaulted.
Lindemann has denied the allegations, with lawyers for the 60-year-old rocker calling the accusations “without exception untrue”.
When the allegations emerged earlier this month, the band members issued a statement to say they took them “extremely seriously” and condemn all forms of abuse, adding that the band’s fans should feel safe “in front and behind the stage” at shows. Also, the band asked that they “not be pre-judged.”
Prosecutors in the capital are said to have launched the investigation “on the basis of several criminal complaints filed by third parties,” or people not directly involved with the case.
As a result, authorities said that the band’s planned aftershow parties for upcoming concerts in Berlin next month would be canceled, the AFP reports.
As news broke of the allegations and subsequent investigation, German Families Minister Lisa Paus weighed in, calling for an “alliance against sexism” and safety from abusive behavior. Paus told the news agency, “young people in particular need to be better protected from attacks here.”
Forming in 1994, Rammstein has consistently been one of Germany’s most popular — and controversial — rock music exports.
The band’s explosive concerts and pyrotechnics have landed them on festival headline slots around the globe, and, at times, put them at odds with health and safety officials. A planned 2001 concert at former central London venue Astoria was scrapped “due to significant restrictions to their stageshow and pyrotechnics”– in other words, authorities were concerned the venue would catch fire.
The group has also courted controversy with its lyrical content and music videos, which have included a hardcore pornographic promo for the 2009 single “Pussy”, and the clip for 2019’s “Deutschland” which was blasted as tasteless and unacceptable by Jewish organizations for its depiction of band members as concentration camp inmates.
In 2019, Rammstein’s untitled seventh studio LP debuted at No. 1 on the album charts in 14 countries, according to Universal Music.
Rammstein’s current tour rolls into the Swiss capital, Bern, this weekend.