The survivor of an alleged sexual assault by Riff Raff will speak at a special forum this Friday at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel, a venue which became available when the U.S. rapper’s show there was promptly cancelled.
Eliza Stafford came forward last week to accuse the Houston artist of drugging and raping her five years ago after a concert. “In 2013 I was raped by a man whose stage name is ‘Riff Raff,’” she wrote in a Facebook post on May 31.
Stafford said she was invited to go backstage mid-show, and “as a 19 year old I was flattered and complied”. She claims she was offered a 60ml “party shot” from a branded vodka bottle, but the drink tasted like syrup. “Riff Raff … told me that it was codeine and started laughing,” she wrote.
Afterwards, she blacked out and, she claims, regained consciousness as she was being violated.
Stafford wrote: “Another girl who had been backstage with me told (friends) that I had been coerced to get in to a car with Riff Raff and his support act.”
The incident wasn’t reported, but Stafford said she didn’t blame them because they “were all young.”
Stafford’s harrowing account spread quickly online late last week and was picked up by various international news outlets, including the U.K’s NME and the U.S. titles Spin and Pitchfork.
In her post, Stafford said she received a notification Riff Raff would next week be performing this Friday at the Corner Hotel, close to her workplace. “I will be 50 metres from my rapist all night,” she wrote.
But that won’t the case after Audiopaxx, the Sydney-based managing and touring firm, announced the trans-Tasman tour had been scrapped.
“We have been made aware of allegations made against Houston rapper Riff Raff. Audiopaxx takes these matters seriously and does not condone any of this alleged behaviour. In light of this, we have spoken to his management team and the scheduled tour of Australia and New Zealand has been cancelled, effective immediately,” a social media statement reads.
The Corner Hotel and other venues on the previously-scheduled tour, including The TBC Club, HQ Complex and The Cambridge Hotel, also dumped Riff Raff’s bookings.
Listen, an organisation established to initiate and foster change in the Australian music industry, using a feminist perspective, applauded the response and swiftly booked a special evening of discussions at the Corner Hotel, with Stafford invited to share her “thoughts, reflections and perspective on how things unfolded last week, and on issues around gender and feminism more broadly,” according to a statement.
A panel will follow, exploring the “state of play” around sexual harassment and assault in the music industry, and featuring guest speakers SIMONA, Shaad D’Souza, Katie Pearson and Moira McKenzie. See details here.
Riff Raff (real name Horst Christian Simco) has yet to address the allegations. TIO reached out to a spokesperson for comment.