Rammstein: what are the allegations against German rock band’s singer Till Lindemann?

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A police investigation has been launched into the lead singer of German rock band Rammstein

Police in Germany have announced they are investigating Rammstein lead singer Till Lindemann after several women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and drink-spiking as well as claims they were “groomed for sex” at concerts.

Lindemann, 60, has denied the allegations, with his lawyers calling the claims “without exception untrue”. Rammstein has also previously responded to the claims, writing on Twitter that they could “rule out the possibility that what is being claimed took place in our environment.” They then issued a further statement, saying they take the allegations against Lindemann “extremely seriously” and insisting they want their fans to feel “comfortable and safe” at shows”.

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Allegations against Lindemann first began following an alleged incident that took place at the band’s recent concert in Vilnius, Lithuania. Shelby Lynn, 24, from Ireland, claimed her drink had been spiked by Lindemann - saying she had denied the rock star’s sexual advances whilst at an after party and later wound up at her hotel with bruises she didn’t remember getting.

Warning: this article includes mentions of sexual assault.

More allegations about the frontman surfaced after, with German news outlet Tagesschau reporting multiple stories of sexual assault. One woman told the broadcaster that she had been backstage at a show in February 2020, when she was 22, when Lindemann asked her to join him in a secluded room before allegedly forcing her to have sex with him.

Reporters also spoke to another woman, aged 21 at the time of the alleged incident, who claimed she awoke in a hotel room to find Lindemann lying on top of her. She then further alleged that Lindemann’s team of handlers had later offered her drugs - which she said she refused.

A series of events followed, with Lindemann’s publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch dropping him as a client. Explaining their reasoning in a statement, they cited both the recent accusations against Lindemann and alleged that he had featured the book he had published through them in a pornographic video - which they claimed “celebrates sexual violence against women”.

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Then, a week ago, organisers of the Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) came forward and said that representatives of the band tried to ask for help in recruiting women and girls for post-concert parties during their 2010 event - which they refused.

Till Lindemann during the presentation of his book at the Franfurter book fair in 2017. Credit: Getty ImagesTill Lindemann during the presentation of his book at the Franfurter book fair in 2017. Credit: Getty Images
Till Lindemann during the presentation of his book at the Franfurter book fair in 2017. Credit: Getty Images | Getty Images

What are the police investigating?

German police have announced they are investigating Lindemann. In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Berlin public prosecution’s office said: “Preliminary proceedings have been initiated against Till Lindemann on allegations relating to sexual offences and the distribution of narcotics.”

Prosecutors opened the investigation on their own initiative, she added, as well as “on the basis of several criminal complaints filed by third parties”, referring to people not directly involved in the alleged incidents, according to the AFP news agency.

Lindemann is suspected of having committed acts “in the area of sexual offenses and the supply of narcotic substances,” the spokesperson continued, adding that the prosecution cannot provide further details at this time so as not to jeopardise the investigation and not to jeopardise the rights of Lindemann and his possible victims.

There have been no arrests or charges.

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What has Till Lindemann said?

Lindemann has not personally commented on the accusations but has made statements through his lawyers. According to Deutsche Welle, Simon Bergman and Christian Schertz released a statement on behalf of the musician on 8 June, saying: "In social networks, especially on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, various women have made serious accusations against our client.

"For example, it was repeatedly claimed that women were drugged with the help of knockout drops or alcohol at Rammstein concerts in order to enable our client to perform sexual acts on them. These allegations are without exception false.”

What has Rammstein said?

A spokesperson for the band told the BBC that it is is conducting an internal investigation into the claims and interviewing staff and crew as part of the inquiry. Previously, they issued a statement on social media. It has been translated into English here:

“The publications of the last few days have caused irritation and questions among the public and especially among our fans. The allegations hit us all very hard, and we take them extremely seriously. We say to our fans: It is important to us that you feel comfortable and safe at our shows—in front of and behind the stage.

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“We condemn any kind of transgression and ask you: Do not engage in public prejudice of any kind against those who have made allegations. You have a right to your point of view. But we, the band, also have a right—namely not to be prejudiced either.”

Before this statement, Rammstein also responded specifically to the allegations about Vilinus. The band wrote on Twitter: “With regard to the allegations circulating on the internet about Vilnius, we can rule out the possibility that what is being claimed took place in our environment. We are not aware of any official investigations into this matter.”

What have Quebec Festival organisers said?

Representatives for Rammstein reportedly asked organisers of the 2010 Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) to help recruit women for a post-concert party, according to Le Journal de Québec. “They asked for that and they were told no,” Daniel Gélinas, who was general manager of the FEQ at the time, told the Canadian media agency.

Samantha McKinley, the current Vice President of Communications for the festival, confirmed the band wanted promoters to “facilitate contact with spectators, a request that our reception staff as well as our production management refused.”

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Gélinas added that during the concert, the band’s team showed up at the festival’s corporate box near the stage “to see if there were any girls” but were told to leave. “We had never seen that. It never happened for other artists,” Gélinas recalled. “Employees were outraged.” It has been said that there is no indication that the band was seeking anyone less than 16-years-old, the age of consent.

Members of the German band Rammstein (from L to R) Christoph Schneider, Paul Landers and Till Lindemann pose for photographers as they arrive for the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 in Munich 01 November 2007. Credit: JOERG KOCH/DDP/AFP via Getty ImagesMembers of the German band Rammstein (from L to R) Christoph Schneider, Paul Landers and Till Lindemann pose for photographers as they arrive for the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 in Munich 01 November 2007. Credit: JOERG KOCH/DDP/AFP via Getty Images
Members of the German band Rammstein (from L to R) Christoph Schneider, Paul Landers and Till Lindemann pose for photographers as they arrive for the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007 in Munich 01 November 2007. Credit: JOERG KOCH/DDP/AFP via Getty Images | DDP/AFP via Getty Images

What allegedly happened in Vilinus, Lithuania?

Irish woman Shelby Lynn, 24, claimed that either Lindemann, or members of Rammstein’s team/entourage, spiked her drink after she was invited to a backstage party after the concert in Vilinus.

She said she first suspected something was wrong when she began forgetting things after having a drink provided by Lindemann, and later woke up in her hotel room with bruises she did not remember getting. She also claimed she had rejected Lindemann when he tried to kiss her earlier in the night, which she alleged he reacted angrily to.

When she first made the allegations on social media, she emphasised that she was not sexually assaulted but believed she had been the victim of an “organised system of funnelling girls”. Lynn later told the BBC she believed she had been recruited and “groomed” for sex with Lindemann.

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Responding to the news that Lindemann is being investigated, Lynn wrote on Twitter on Wednesday (14 June): “Till Lindemann is being investigated by the Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office. Thank you each and every single person involved so far in bringing this to light, every girl brave enough to speak out, everyone’s messages of support, and everyone that gave us girls a platform to be heard.”

What are the other allegations about Lindemann?

German news outlet Tagesschau reported that, after the claims made by Lynn, several woman approached them with their own experiences with the rock singer, with two of those women alleging they had been sexually assaulted.

One woman, referred to by Tagesschau as Cynthia A, claimed she had been 22 when Lindemann forced her to have sex with him. She told the news outlet: “At that moment I just thought: ‘Oh my God, that hurts, hopefully it will be over soon’.”

Cynthia A said she did not explicitly say no, but felt it was clear she was extremely uncomfortable. Lindemann “must have noticed that it wasn’t easy to sleep with me”, she added.

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Tagesschau said it was able to corroborate the claims after speaking with several of the woman’s friends, who she told about what happened. Cynthia A now describes the incident, which allegedly took place in February 2020, as an “assault and abuse of power.”

Another woman claimed that when she was 21, she awoke in a hotel room after a post-show party to find Lindemann lying on top of her. ‘Kaya R’ alleged that Lindemann then asked her if she wanted him to stop, but she said she “didn’t even know what he wanted to stop doing.”

Taggeschau also alleged that the interviews they had conducted had revealed a “process” undertaken by Lindemann’s team in which women were chosen for after-show parties and backstage encounters - with women reporting how they were “specifically approached” by people from Lindemann’s “environment” either via social media or at the concerts themselves.

“This is what happened in different cities across Europe, always with a very similar process,” the news outlet wrote, adding that women who were contacted before shows were then asked “to dress attractively”.

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It continued: “One woman reports that she was clearly informed that access to the concert and after-show party is only available if there is an interest in sexual intercourse with Lindemann – and that Lindemann, who is now 60, only wants very young women to attend.”

What happened with the book publisher?

Publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch announced on 2 June that it would be dropping Lindemann as a client. In a statement which has since been translated from German, it said: “It is with shock that we have followed public allegations against Till Lindemann in the last few days. Our sympathy and respect goes to the women affected.

“In the course of current reporting, we became aware of a porn video in which Till Lindemann celebrates sexual violence against women and in which the 2013 book “In Still Night”, published by Kiepenheuer & Witsch, plays a role. We rate this as gross breach of trust and as a ruthless act in relation to the values ​​we represent as a publisher.

“We defend the freedom of art with full conviction. [But] through Till Lindemann’s actions that humiliate women in the aforementioned porn and the targeted use of our book in a pornographic context, the separation between the “lyrical I” and the author/artist, which we so staunchly defended, is mocked by the author himself.

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“From our point of view, Till Lindemann exceeds immovable limits in dealing with women. We have therefore decided to end our collaboration with Till Lindemann with immediate effect, as our relationship of trust with the author has been irretrievably broken.”

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