The singer and leader of the German rock band Rammstein, Till Lindemann, is facing accusations from several young women who denounce a system of casting and recruiting fans to have sex with him during his concerts. The scandal of alleged sexual abuse and power has erupted following the testimony of an Irish woman who has reported to Lithuanian police that her drink was adulterated at a party after the group's concert in Vilnius last month.
The accusations have taken shape in recent days, as more women have begun to recount how the so-called zero row worked at concerts, the closest to the stage, and subsequent parties with Lindemann. These days Rammstein, Germany's best-known band outside its borders, celebrates a series of four concerts at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. The scandal has caused promoters to eliminate row zero and ban parties after the show, and even the German government has spoken out demanding more protection for women in this type of shows. The Minister of Family, Lisa Paus, has called for "a serious debate on the responsibility of artists and organizers towards their fans", and has invited the music industry to join the "alliance against sexism".
Rammstein has assured in two statements that it takes the allegations "extremely seriously", but has denied that the events related by the Irish woman have occurred in "the environment" of the band. The group, known for its spectacular pyrotechnics and provocative lyrics, has sold more than 50 million records and fills stadiums around the world. His fame in Germany is more controversial than abroad, especially after Lindemann published a book of poems and a pornographic video a couple of years ago. In one of the texts he apparently fantasizes about abusing an unconscious woman. Lindemann shows in his recitals sexually explicit sculptures that he designs himself and often pantomimes of sexual acts such as ejaculations on stage.
The publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch, which published the poetry anthology in 2020, has announced that it is breaking all collaboration with the singer. Hundreds of fans of the group have been trying to resell tickets for their concerts in Munich, according to the German press, which also reports that Rammstein has hired a law firm and a company specializing in reputational crises. The case revives in Germany the Me Too movement, which began to make visible six years ago the systemic nature of sexist violence around the world. Until now, allegations of sexism in the German cultural industry had been limited to the world of hip hop, although recently Der Spiegel brought to light the alleged abuses of well-known actor Til Schweiger, ranging from sexism to widespread labor mistreatment of workers in his latest production.
The first fan to speak openly about the alleged abuse of the 60-year-old Rammstein singer is a 24-year-old woman from Northern Ireland, Shelby L. who attended the Vilnius concert on May 23. In a series of publications on Twitter and Instagram he has been recounting his experience, in which a Russian woman named Alena Makeeva has a special role, supposedly in charge of selecting young fans to present them to the singer.
According to her account, through internet forums she learned that Makeeva — who on her Instagram page refers to herself as "touring casting director with Till LIndemann" — was the person who helped fans access exclusive parties with the group before and after concerts. He contacted her on Instagram and got one of those invitations to get into row zero of the Vilnius show.
During a break, she says a crew member took her to a dressing room under the stage where she met Lindemann. Always according to his story, he told him that he did not want to have sex with him, to which the singer reacted with great anger. The woman says that at the previous party she had only two drinks and that after a while she began to behave in an unusual way. He suspects that someone may have introduced some substance into his drink, which would explain the memory gaps he has from that night.
After making her story public, which includes photos of large bruises that she does not know how it was done, the German press has begun to publish testimonies of women who speak of similar experiences. The Irish fan reiterated in a subsequent message on May 30 that she has not reported a rape: "Till did NOT touch me. He accepted that I didn't want to sleep with him. I've never said he raped me." For now, his is the only case in the hands of the police. Lithuanian officers have taken his statement for five hours as a possible victim of an abuse crime. The Prosecutor's Office has not yet decided whether to open a criminal investigation.
Stories published in the German media describe a system apparently designed to choose among Rammstein fans those indicated to have sex with the singer. The stories published for example in Die Welt, which claims to have signed statements from several women, coincide with the scenes described by the Irish fan. Makeeva selected the young women who could occupy row zero. Once there they were photographed and filmed as in a casting. Before, during or after the concert they were offered to meet the band backstage, their mobiles were removed and they were invited to drink alcohol.
The newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has published the testimony of a woman who attended one of those parties after the Rammstein concert in Vienna in 2019. He says he drank alcohol and fainted. When he regained consciousness, he met Lindemann in a hotel room: "He was on top of me." The singer, according to this account, asked him if he wanted him to stop and left the room.
Dozens of women
The newspaper and television NDR have published a joint investigation talking to dozens of women, who have shown them screenshots of chats in which Makeeva asks them if they know of other girls who want to meet Lindemann or sleep with him. They relate that there were two types of party, some with the group, and others that were meetings only with the singer. The Russian woman, a fan of Rammstein, was not hired or paid to do that selection work, German media report. The "casting director" gave them directions on how to dress: "Sexy-elegant, not all black," reads some chats. The group has announced that it has banned him from attending their concerts.
"The question is whether all the women who kill Lindemann arrive in a position to regain control of the situation at any time or remember what happened later. Or if the whole process is so asymmetrical, so manipulative from the beginning, that one cannot speak of voluntariness," reflects the text of Süddeutsche Zeitung. The band is scheduled to perform in Spain, in Madrid, in July.
Shelby L. told Die Welt that she has received more than 1,500 messages after her first publication and that about half are supportive, 20% hostile and the rest tell similar cases. Some have sent her photos of bruises and report that, like her, they were invited to row zero and then to drink drinks that caused effects that do not correspond to those of alcohol.
A well-known 21-year-old German influencer said Tuesday that she was also invited by Makeeva to a post-concert party for the band with other young women. She says she was very affectionate with them and asked them to leave their phones "for privacy reasons." They were led to a locker room – it was a sports stadium – where there were two black leather sofas, a table and two refrigerators with alcoholic beverages and, seated, several girls with the appearance of being drugged, "like zombies". He says it made such a bad impression on him that he got out of there right away.