Los Angeles, CA – William Bensussen, better known by his stage moniker The Gaslamp Killer, was accused of rape via Twitter last November. Two women — Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina — said the former Low End Theory regular sexually assaulted them both in 2013, something Bensussen adamantly denied. Subsequently, he filed a defamation suit against his accusers, which included Tadros’ boyfriend, Jack Wagner.
Now, a Los Angeles judge has ruled the suit can move forward. According to a press release, Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell “finalized a tentative ruling rejecting a motion by the woman, Chelsea Tadros, for the entertainer’s suit to be thrown out because it infringed on her right to free speech.”
Tadros’ attorneys argued her allegations on Twitter were opinions that are protected by the First Amendment, and that as long as she believed she was drugged and raped, she should be dropped from the suit. But O’Donnell ruled that her allegations “should be treated as facts.”
The jury will be able to decide if the evidence presented by Bensussen proves or disprove she lied.
“This ruling is huge,” Bensussen’s attorney Parag Amin said in the press release. “Of all the legal hurdles my client faced in bringing this lawsuit, this motion was the toughest to overcome. Because Bensussen is a public figure, the bar was extremely high. We had to show the Court that Tadros’ statements were most probably false and were most probably made with actual malice before we got to take any depositions or conduct any discovery.”
He added, “Now we look forward to our day in court, where my client can finally clear his name from Tadros’ fabricated and vile allegations.”
The judge primarily based her decision on the sworn declarations Bensussen filed from third-party eyewitnesses, Peter Rosen and Christopher Salguero, who were present before and during the alleged incident.
A toxicologist also reviewed Tadros’ account and gave a sworn statement saying Tadros’ statement was “virtually impossible” because it was inconsistent with the effects of any known date-rape drug.
Medina and Wagner were both dropped from the suit.
Medina prevailed on an anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion and the judge dismissed Bensussen’s complaint against her.
“This is a very important victory,” Medina’s attorney Karen Henry said in a press release. “Many men accused of rape or sexual assault/harassment leverage the judicial system to silence their victims. Filing defamation claims against victims who speak out about their rape threatens the victims with years of stressful and expensive litigation. In many cases, the victims are forced to relent because they simply cannot afford to defend themselves against their alleged rapists, who generally have more resources and influence. This dynamic forces victims into the shadows and effectively muzzles them.”
(The original version of this article was published on November 13, 2017 and can be found below.)
All hell broke loose for The Gaslamp Killer last month when the West Coast DJ/producer was accused of raping two women. One of the alleged victims, Chelsea Tadros, initially came forward on Twitter with claims GLK (real name William Bensussen) had forced himself on her and a friend in 2013, and all three had non-consensual sex. The friend was later identified as RaeAn Medina.
Now, GLK is fighting back with a defamation lawsuit filed against Tadros, Medina and Tadros’ boyfriend, Jack Wagner. The suit was filed on Monday (November 13) for “falsely and maliciously” accusing GLK of drugging and raping them.
i've been silently suffering over this for many years. the gaslamp killer drugged and raped my best friend and myself 4 years ago pic.twitter.com/yvJM5HEJay
— chelsea (@chelseaelaynne) October 13, 2017
GLK’s attorney Parag Amin explained in a press release, “These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career, upended his personal life, and led to the cancellation of his shows. Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way – through a court of law, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for false statements.”
Following the accusations, GLK was dropped from several festival appearances. Low End Theory, the weekly experimental Hip Hop club night he helped establish at The Airliner in Los Angeles, also promptly parted ways with the longtime musician.
Flying Lotus, another staple of the Low End Theory scene, even came under fire when he appeared to defend GLK during one of his sets, but he quickly issued an apology for any “insensitive” comments he made.
GLK maintains his innocence and insists the act was consensual.
Check out part of the court docs below.