Earlier this week, multiple outlets reported the still-developing story of a staggering number of sexual harassment accusations against publicist Heathcliff Berru, former CEO of PR firm Life or Death. Last night, it was announced that Berru was stepping down from his position at Life or Death. Today he has made a very lite public apology, and has said that he’s looking into getting himself into rehab.
The statement from Berru reads like a greatest-hits compilation of public apologies: “I am deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions and how I have made certain women feel,” he says, managing to take zero responsibility for his actions and instead blaming the victims. He goes on, “If I crossed the line of decency or respectfulness in situations when I was drunk and under the influence, there is no excuse, of course.” He also denies the allegations that he drugged anyone.
The story began on Monday night when Dirty Projectors member Amber Coffman took to Twitter to express her frustration with the systemic support given to men who are knowingly inappropriate in professional situations and otherwise. Once she came forward, plenty of other female members of the music industry did, too, including Roxy Lange, Bethany Cosentino, publicists Judy Silverman and Beth Martinez, and more. Berru quickly relinquished all CEO duties at Life or Death, but is still owner of the company.
Update: Killer Mike, who was represented by Life or Death, has spoken out via Twitter, and seems to claim that Life or Death is shutting down:
As of 10:55 am, the Life or Death website is “under maintenance.”
Here is Berru’s full statement:
There have been several reports about my alleged inappropriate behavior which deserve a response. I am deeply sorry for those who I have offended by my actions and how I have made certain women feel. If I crossed the line of decency or respectfulness in situations when I was drunk and under the influence, there is no excuse of course. To be clear, while my conduct may have been inappropriate, I have never drugged anyone or engaged in that type of behavior. Nevertheless, I do not want to be the type of person who would let drugs or alcohol take command of his life and compromise how he treats people. Yet I have been this person and it’s time to put a stop to all of this. Create a world with one less inappropriate man.
I have been fighting a losing battle against drugs and alcohol for many years and will be checking into a rehabilitation facility in the hope that I can improve my chances of winning that fight. A year ago, I was confronted by a peer and began to try to clean up and make things right with therapy and with an eye towards quitting the addiction. The shame and sadness feels as strong now as it did then and I am making an immediate change. I have already lost my wife, abandoned my family, and destroyed those I love as a result of my shameful, embarrassing, unacceptable behavior. I deeply apologize to them as well. By no means do they deserve to feel the pain of my actions. Please give them the space they deserve. They were the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I was married during some of these years and hid my problems from everyone well. Especially her and her family. Totally inexcusable. In no way do these allegations reflect on Life or Death PR, its staff, or anyone associated with the company. These are my issues, not theirs. I could not be more proud of the company and what it stands for. That being said I have stepped down as the CEO and [am] relinquishing all responsibility to the current president, Nick Dierl. The company shouldn’t have to deal with this distraction and I want Nick and the rest of the team to continue to do their good work while I take care of myself.