indie music

Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek Accused of Nonconsensual Sex, Exposing Himself

Photo: Wendy Redfern/Redferns

Three women have detailed allegations against Mark Kozelek, the folk musician who performs as Sun Kil Moon, including nonconsensual sexual encounters and exposing himself. A report by Pitchfork outlines allegations against Kozelek dating back to 2014, when he was lauded in indie circles for the Sun Kil Moon album Benji. One women, identified by the pseudonym Andrea, met Kozelek in September 2014 at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, when she was 19. She met Kozelek, then 47, after the show, and he gave her his phone number, later inviting her to his hotel room after 1 a.m. He took a bath, she said, then came out, dropped his towel, and “pretty much pounced on” her. “I didn’t have the courage to be like, No, that wasn’t okay, and that’s not what I wanted to do,” she said. She messaged a friend the next day that their sex “wasn’t really consensual,” and told Pitchfork that Kozelek didn’t use a condom, despite her asking. Andrea continued a relationship with Kozelek for three months, saying some sex was consensual, but Kozelek pressured her into acts like public sex. Kozelek ended their relationship in December 2014, but when Andrea saw him after a show in 2016, he tried to pressure her into sex once again, to which she said no.

Another woman, Sarah Golden, met Kozelek before a 2017 concert in Portugal, which he invited her to after meeting her on the flight there. He invited her to his hotel room after to call her a cab to her Airbnb, but then asked her to stay with him for the night. When Golden said no, Kozelek — wearing just a T-shirt and underwear — forced himself on top of her, began masturbating, and forced her to touch his penis. She left shortly afterward. Months later, Golden noticed Kozelek referenced a conversation with a woman after a Portugal concert in the song “Soap for Joyful Hands.” In the song, though, Kozelek claims he returned to his hotel room alone. A third woman, a musician, claimed Kozelek “acted inappropriately,” in Pitchfork’s terms, toward her and a friend after inviting them to his hotel after a 2014 music festival.

Kozelek’s misogyny has previously been well-documented. In 2015, he released the song “War on Drugs: Suck My Cock,” addressed to the indie rock band, in which he references a “spoiled bitch rich kid blogger brat.” Allison Hussey, who now writes for Pitchfork, heard the song as referring to her after she negatively reviewed Kozelek’s performance at Hopscotch 2014. In 2015, Kozelek called Laura Snapes, now deputy music editor for the Guardian, a “bitch” on stage after she tried to arrange an in-person interview with him (he only conducts email interviews).

Sun Kil Moon’s publicist did not respond to Pitchfork’s requests for comment; Vulture sent an additional request. Kozelek is readying a new album as Sun Kil Moon called Welcome to Sparks, Nevada, for September 12.

Update, August 18: Kozelek denied the allegations with a statement posted August 17 on Sun Kil Moon’s website. “It is important that I publicly and unconditionally deny that I engaged in the inappropriate and disturbing incidents falsely depicted in the media,” he said. “While I support the important work of addressing legitimate claims of sexual misconduct, I reject the false allegations and innuendo in the recent press.” Kozelek added, “I have retained the legal counsel of Lavely & Singer to investigate and to pursue as necessary any claims against anyone participating to defame me in the media.”

Correction: This story was updated to clarify Kozelek’s comments toward Snapes.

Mark Kozelek Accused of Nonconsensual Sex, Exposing Himself