REPORTS: 11 Women Accuse Former Lumineers Manager of Sexual Assault, Misconduct
After five women came forward last month with accusations including rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct against Seattle nightlife entrepreneur and former Lumineers manager David Meinert, six more women have spoken out in a second article published by KUOW.org. The new allegations include sexual assault and range from 2001 to 2015.
The new accusers include musician Eryn Young, Seattle Times food critic Bethany Jean Clement, Umami Seattle founder Elise Ballard, Urban Artworks board chair Rebecca Jacobs, and political operative/Bellevue College adjunct professor Maria Leininger. A sixth accuser, a communications professional, only revealed her first name, Jenna.
The alleged incidents, recounted in graphic detail by KUOW and supported by secondary sources, include non-consensual genital touching, several incidents of aggressive and non-consensual kissing and groping, attempts to induce women to perform oral sex, threatening comments toward two women after Meinert learned they had told friends about the incidents — and in one case, he allegedly slapped a woman repeatedly when she refused his advances.
Meinert, 52, is a long-established figure in the Seattle music scene, although his businesses have unraveled in the wake of the accusations. Three acts previously affiliated with his management company, Onto Entertainment, have left it — Hey Marseilles, Andrea Gibson, and more recently, according to a band rep, the Lumineers — although Hey Marseilles and the Lumineers are still listed on its website. Other acts he had managed, including Blue Scholars, Common Market, and the Presidents of the United States of America, are no longer listed. He also currently owns or previously owned or co-owned the 5 Point Cafe, the Comet Tavern, Grim’s, Lost Lake, and the restaurant group Guild Seattle, although two days after the initial accusations were published, a business partner told KUOW that Meinert no longer held a stake in all except the first-named organization.
Meinert did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment. While KUOW reported that he did not respond to the new allegations, he previously denied the specific allegations of rape and sexual assault. “Prosecutors had declined to charge an accusation from 2007, and Meinert said he had no idea why two other women would make rape and sexual assault allegations years later,” the report reads. “He had never had sexual contact with the newest rape accuser, and he had sex with the sexual assault accuser consensually, he said.”
“Two other lower-level allegations from other women could have been plausible, Meinert added, though he didn’t recall the specifics,” the report continues. “He had been ‘handsy’ in the past, he told KUOW, but he was learning from his mistakes. He spoke in sympathetic terms about the #MeToo movement and insisted he was not a rapist.”
By Jem Aswad | Variety
Photo: David Meinert, owner of The 5 Point Cafe, part-owner of Lost Lake Cafe and The Comet Tavern, has long been a major fixture on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. KUOW Photo/David Hyde