Last October, the electronic musician – real name William Benjamin Bensussen – was accused of sexual assault by a Twitter user, who described an alleged incident that she said took place at a party at a Los Angeles hotel in July 2013. The individual claimed that Bensussen “drugged and raped” her and her best friend at the party.
Bensussen later denied the allegations, responding in a statement that he would “never drug a woman” and claiming that the sexual encounter had been consensual. “Please know that while I am shocked, I take this all very seriously,” he said of the accusations.
After suing both the original accuser and her friend for $5 million, LA County Judge Joanne O’Donnell has now dismissed with prejudice Bensussen’s suit against one of the accusers, RaeAn Medina.
The judge said that Medina had a First Amendment right to speak out about a matter deemed of public interest. The ruling gives Medina the right to recover legal fees.
Judge O’Donnell is still considering the complaint against the other accuser in the case, Chelsea Tadros.
“This is a very important victory,” said Medina’s attorney Karen Henry. “We are gratified that the court vindicated our client’s constitutionally protected right to speak out about her experience, without the threat of a $5 million lawsuit.”
Bensussen’s attorney Parag Amin told NME: “The Court’s tentative ruling excuses RaeAn Medina from our defamation lawsuit but allows us to proceed against the chief accuser, Chelsea Tadros, who was responsible for starting the false and disgusting accusations that have gravely damaged my client’s reputation and career. It was Tadros who dragged an obviously reluctant Medina into her fake narrative.”
“This lawsuit is far from over, and we look forward to the day when both women testify under oath about the malicious hoax that was perpetrated by Tadros.”
Responding to the original rape claims, Bensussen wrote in a statement shared on Twitter last year: “Allegations carry a lot of weight on social media these days, and the bravery of women who expose their stories can create necessary dialogue that leads to real change.”
Describing the allegations as “not true”, Bensussen added: “Please know that while I am shocked, I take this all very seriously. It is all so sensitive and needs to be treated with the utmost care and attention.”