The singer and leader of the German rock band Rammstein, Till Lindemann, faces accusations from several young women who denounce a system of casting and recruiting fans to have sex with him during his concerts. The scandal of alleged sexual abuse and power has erupted as a result of the testimony of an Irish woman who has denounced to the Lithuanian police that her drink was adulterated at a party after the concert that the group gave in Vilnius last month.
The accusations have taken shape in recent days, as more women have begun to recount how the so-called zero line worked at concerts, the one closest to the stage, and the after-parties with Lindemann. These days Rammstein, the best-known German band outside its borders, celebrates a series of four concerts at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. The scandal has caused promoters to eliminate row zero and ban parties after the show, and even the German government has spoken out demanding more protection for women in this type of show. Family Minister, Lisa Paus, has called for “a serious debate on the responsibility of artists and organizers towards their fans”, and has invited the music industry to join the “alliance against sexism”.
Rammstein has assured in two statements that it takes the complaints “extremely seriously”, but has denied that the events recounted by the Irish woman have occurred in “the environment” of the band. Known for their spectacular pyrotechnics and provocative lyrics, the group have sold more than 50 million records and sell out arenas around the world. His fame in Germany is more controversial than abroad, especially after Lindemann published a book of poems and a pornographic video a couple of years ago. In one of the texts he apparently fantasizes about abusing an unconscious woman. Lindemann displays sexually explicit sculptures that he designs himself at his recitals and often mimes sexual acts as ejaculations on stage.
The Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishing house, which published the poetry anthology in 2020, has announced that it is breaking all collaboration with the singer. Hundreds of the group’s fans have been trying to resell tickets for their concerts in Munich, according to the German press, which also reports that Rammstein has hired a law firm and a company specializing in reputational crises. The case revives the Me Too movement in Germany, which began to make visible six years ago the systemic nature of violence against women throughout the world. Until now, allegations of sexism in the German cultural industry have been limited to the world of hip hop, although recently Der Spiegel brought to light the alleged abuses of the well-known actor Til Schweiger, ranging from sexism to widespread labor mistreatment of workers in his latest production.
The first fan to speak out about the 60-year-old Rammstein singer’s alleged abuse is a 24-year-old woman from Northern Ireland, Shelby L., who attended the Vilnius concert on May 23. In a series of posts on Twitter and Instagram, she has been recounting her experience, in which a Russian woman named Alena Makeeva has a special role, supposedly in charge of selecting young fans to introduce them to the singer.
According to her account, through internet forums she learned that Makeeva —who on her Instagram page refers to herself as “director of casting on tour with Till LIndemann”—was the person who helped fans access exclusive parties with the group before and after concerts. He contacted her on Instagram and got one of those invitations to enter the zero row of the Vilnius show.
During a break, she says a team member took her to a dressing room located below the stage where she met Lindemann. She always according to her story, she told him that she did not want to have sex with him, to which the singer reacted with great anger. The woman assures her that at the previous party she only had two drinks and that after a while she began to behave in an unusual way. She suspects that someone may have slipped some substance into her drink, which would explain the memory gaps she has from that night.
After going public with her story, which includes photos of large bruises that she does not know how it was done, the German press has begun to publish testimonials from women who speak of similar experiences. The Irish fan reiterated in a post on May 30 that she has not reported a rape: “Till did NOT touch me. She accepted that I didn’t want to sleep with him. I have never said that he would have raped me ”. For now, his is the only case in the hands of the police. Lithuanian agents have taken a statement for five hours as a possible victim of a crime of abuse. The Prosecutor’s Office has not yet decided whether to open a criminal investigation.
Stories published in the German media describe a system apparently designed to select among Rammstein fans the right ones to have sex with the singer. Stories published, for example, in Die Welt, which claims to have signed statements from several women, coincide with the scenes described by the Irish fan. Makeeva selected the young women who could occupy row zero. Once there they were photographed and filmed as if in a casting. Before, during or after the concert, they were offered to meet the band behind the scenes, their cell phones were taken away and they were invited to drink alcohol.
The newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung has published the testimony of a woman who attended one of those parties after the Rammstein concert in Vienna in 2019. She assures that she drank alcohol and passed out. When she regained consciousness, she met Lindemann in a hotel room: “He was on top of me.” The singer, according to this story, asked him if he wanted him to stop and left the room. Newspapers will likely need to make use of the women’s signed statements, because Rammstein announced on Thursday that he will take legal action against the publications. In various media and social networks “it has been stated on several occasions that at Rammstein concerts women had been drugged with GHB or alcohol so that our client would perform sexual acts with them,” say the group’s lawyers. “These accusations are invariably false,” they add.
dozens of women
The newspaper and NDR television have published a joint investigation talking to dozens of women, who have shown them screenshots of chats in which Makeeva asks them if they know of other girls who want to meet Lindemann or sleep with him. They report that there were two types of parties, some with the group, and others that were meetings only with the singer. The Russian woman, a Rammstein fan in turn, was not hired or paid to do this selection work, the German media reported. The “director of casting” He gave them instructions on how to dress: “Sexy-elegant, not all in black”, reads in some chats. The group has announced that he has been banned from attending their concerts.
“The question is whether all the women who end up with Lindemann arrive in a position to regain control of the situation at any time or later remember what happened. Or if the whole process is so asymmetrical, so manipulative from the beginning, that one cannot speak of voluntariness”, reflects the text of Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The band plans a performance in Spain, in Madrid, on June 23.
Shelby L. has told Die Welt that it has received more than 1,500 messages after its first publication and that approximately half are supportive, 20% hostile and the rest have similar cases. Some of her have sent her photos of bruises and they say that, like her, they were invited to line zero and then to drink drinks that caused effects that did not correspond to those of alcohol.
A known influencers 21-year-old German recounted on Tuesday that she was also invited by Makeeva to a band post-concert party with other young women. She assures that she was very affectionate with them and that she asked them to leave their cell phones “for privacy reasons.” They were led to a locker room —it was a sports stadium— where there were two black leather sofas, a table and two refrigerators with alcoholic beverages and, seated, several girls who appeared to be drugged, “like zombies”. She claims that she made such a bad impression on him that she got out of there right away.
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