Warning: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual misconduct and physical abuse.
Allegations of sexual misconduct, abuse, and harassment against Ariel Pink have surfaced in a civil litigation case between the artist and his former girlfriend and bandmate, Charlotte Ercoli Coe. As Pitchfork reports, on Wednesday, January 6 – the same day he attended the pro-Trump rally that led to the violent riot at the Capitol – Pink lost his attempt to secure a restraining order against Coe. According to court documents obtained by the publication, Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Laura Cohen ordered Pink’s request “hereby stricken and dismissed,” and ruled that Coe is entitled to “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”
In her ruling, Cohen cited California’s “anti-SLAPP” statute, which is supposed to prevent people from using frivolous lawsuits as an intimidation tactic. In her view, Coe “made a threshold showing” that her behaviours were “constitutionally protected activities,” and not harassment, as Pink had claimed.
When filing for the restraining order, Pink claimed that Coe was harassing him and that she’d been “falsely claiming [Pink] was a sexual ‘predator’ and falsely claiming to mutual friends and to [Pink] that he committed sexual offenses almost three years ago for which she has threatened to report [Pink] to police authorities.” Pink’s lawyer also claimed that Coe “attempted to blackmail him with false allegations of sexual misconduct to his record label and financial supporters, to the media, including Pitchfork and Variety, and to the general public.”
In her declaration, Coe – who is also a video director and solo musician – detailed multiple incidents of alleged misconduct and abuse. She notes that when she and Pink began dating in 2015, she was 19 and he was 38, leading to “a tumultuous relationship, characterized by a power imbalance: [Pink] was 19 years older than me; [Pink] was famous, and I was not; [Pink] was established in the music business, while I was just beginning my music career.” Her allegations of abuse include a 2017 incident in which Pink reportedly “physically attacked” Coe while playing a show in San Francisco. At the time of the incident, Coe had tweeted that the two were “just having fun.” In her declaration, she said she was pressured by Pink to post the tweet, claiming that he “physically and mentally abused [her] during [their] relationship, including the 2017 incident at the San Francisco concert.”
Coe also alleged that, during their relationship, Pink “bullied” her into having unprotected sex, infected her with herpes, and “illegally distributed naked pictures” of her “to some of his fans.” In a separate declaration, Coe’s aunt, Robin Coe Hutshing, presented a copy of a text message Pink allegedly sent to her in which he admitted to giving Coe herpes and distributing nude photographs of her without her permission. “i fucked up with charlie on dozens of fronts and deserve what i got as a consequence,” the message reads. “i gave her herpes (kills me more than anythng) and that alone would have been grounds enough for a break up. i flirted w people online, thinking it harmless, and that it wouldn’t get back to her- i even sent private nude pics of charlie like a fucking idiot, convincing myself that it wasn’t inappropriate because i was ‘bragging’ about how hot my gf was.”
Pink responded to Coe’s allegations in a November 2020 filing, writing that Coe’s “claims that [he] is a sexual predator, physically abusive, and a pedophile are intentionally false, misleading and defamatory,” and are therefore “not protected free speech nor covered by the Anti-SLAPP statute.” Pink also denied that he did not tell Coe about his herpes diagnosis and claimed that she was “clothed” in the images he shared of her.
Pink’s lawyer told Pitchfork that “the pending matter is now on appeal.” You can read Pitchfork’s full account of the case here.
On January 8, following reports of Pink’s attendance at the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., his label Mexican Summer announced its decision to “to end [its] working relationship” with the musician“moving forward.”