Har Mar Superstar Apologizes Following Sexual Misconduct Accusations
A group of women has come forward to accuse Sean Tillman, the Minneapolis artist who has long recorded ironic party-funk and R&B under the name Har Mar Superstar, of sexual assault. As the Minneapolis Star Tribute reports, stories about Tillman have been circulating on social media over the past three weeks. Last night, one Twitter user, claiming to represent “a group of survivors and allies,” posted a statement that “the assaults experienced by 7 survivors that have shared thus far have ranged from pointed inappropriate sexual comments to grooming to physical sexual assault.”
The Star Tribune has shared the accounts of three women, all of whom have accused Tillman of sexual assault or harassment between 2014 and 2017. One woman, whose identity has been withheld, claims that Tillman “unbuckled his pants and stuck his penis in her face” at a gathering at his house in 2016. On that incident, Tillman has responded, “I categorically deny the version of events that has been presented within her post.”
Another woman claims that Tillman “suddenly slid his hand down her pants” one night at Grumpy’s Bar in Minneapolis. A third woman says that Tillman propositioned her at a recording studio. When she turned him down and went to the bathroom, Tillman allegedly smashed his way into her bathroom stall and tried to kiss or touch her. You can read the Star Tribune story here.
In a statement posted on Twitter and Facebook last night, Tillman denies the 2016 incident. He also writes, “I take these claims extremely seriously. I am deeply sorry to anyone who feels I’ve hurt them; what matters here is not my feelings or perspective but to take these statements seriously and respectfully.” Tillman claims that he has been sober for almost two years and refers to the time he spent dealing with addiction: “Fueled by a toxic mixture of alcohol, drugs, and cavalier sexuality, I was harming people around me and failing them and myself.”
Tillman has recorded under the Har Mar Superstar name since 2000, and he’s also made music as Sean Na Na and with the punk band Calvin Krime. He’s played in the Minneapolis supergroup Gayngs and in Macauley Culkin’s joke band the Pizza Underground, and he’s written songs for pop artists like Jennifer Lopez. As Har Mar Superstar, Tillman would often strip down to his underwear onstage and cover R. Kelly. He’s toured as an opener for bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and the Strokes, and the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas produced his albums Bye Bye 17 and Best Summer Ever. Last year, Tillman found a job as a mailman and talked about it in interviews. Earlier this month, he released a new album called Roseville, on which he sang about getting sober and starting therapy.
The Star Tribune reports that various Minneapolis institutions have already distanced themselves from Tillman. The venue First Avenue has stopped selling tickets for a forthcoming show from Tillman’s band Heart Bones, and a representative for the venue says, “Once we became aware of the allegations, we felt it was the best decision to take the show down until there is accountability.” Radio station 89.3 The Current has also stopped playing Tillman’s music.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual violence, please contact RAINN or call the National Sexual Abuse Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.