Lily Allen recounts sexual assault by music industry executive in her new memoir

Allen says the music industry “allows and sometimes even endorses toxic behaviour by men towards women"

lily allen sexual assault allegations
Lily Allen

    Lily Allen has given a revealing, far-ranging interview to the Guardian Weekend in advance of her new memoir, My Thoughts Exactly, which alleges a instance of sexual assault by an unnamed music industry executive. Though the pop singer wanted to name him in her memoir, the publisher’s lawyers advised her against it. Still, she asserts that the music industry is “rife with sexual abuse,” and “allows and sometimes even endorses toxic behaviour by men towards women.”

    Allen’s personal account detailed how the man allowed her to sleep in his hotel room after she had got “smashed” at a party. She awoke hours later to the man joining her in bed. “I woke up at 5am because I could feel someone next to me pressing their naked body against my back. I was naked, too. I could feel someone trying to put their penis inside my vagina and slapping my arse as if I were a stripper in a club. I moved away as quickly as possible and jumped out of the bed, full of alarm … I found my clothes quickly … and ran out of his room and into my own.”

    Though she continued to work with the man out of fear of being labeled “hysterical” and a “difficult woman,” she signed an affidavit documenting her recollection of the events. “I wanted it on record that I’d been sexually abused by someone I worked with.”


    Allen says she later was offered a gig promoted by Radio 1 that would also feature one of the executive’s artists, but turned it down. “Because I didn’t want to be around him.” Turning the gig down, she says, caused Radio 1 to punish her by refusing to play her single “Trigger Bang”. “I just couldn’t tell them why I couldn’t take the slot,” she says.

    Elsewhere in the memoir, she recounts a sexual encounter with an older A&R representative that, despite being consensual, nevertheless felt manipulative and rooted in power dynamics. “It was consensual, sure,” she wrote. “It’s just that he had all the power and I had none. It’s just that I was young and he wasn’t. It’s just that I was looking for help and he acted as if he was doing me a favour.”

    Read more details about her allegations here, and read Allen’s full, fascinating interview here. In addition to the assault, she delves into overcoming her addiction issues, her strained relationship with her parents, and the stalker who broke into her London home with the intention to slit her throat a few years ago.


    Allen’s latest album is the Mercury Prize-nominated No Shame.

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