Content Warning: This article about Rhye discusses sexual abuse and domestic violence. If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
Michael Milosh, the musician behind pop act Rhye, has been accused of grooming and physical and sexual abuse. Zoey 101 actress Alexa Nikolas took to Instagram on Monday to share a series of lengthy statements, accusing Milosh of abusing her and other women.
The open letter, titled ‘Groomed by the Groom’, accuses Milosh of being an ephebophile — a person attracted to teenagers between 15 and 19. Nikolas alleges that the Canadian musician began grooming her at age 16 for “a green card, success, and sex.”
In a 2018 interview with Verse, Nikolas detailed that she first met Milosh when she was 16 and he was 33. Nikolas recounts that she reached out to Milosh on Myspace and the pair began a “flirtatious” remote relationship over text, email and Skype.
Though the interview was largely positive, Nikolas claims that Milosh and his representatives attempted to “take down” the feature post-publication. Nikolas maintains that it wasn’t damaging to his character and that she “withheld many truths out of fear of him not helping me financially during our separation.”
“In my opinion, the reason why he was so adamant about taking the interview down is because Milosh was talking to me when I was 16 years old,” she continued.
The Instagram open letter details that Milosh requested to meet multiple times when she was underage, under the pretence of wanting to photograph her.
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On her 18th birthday, Nikolas invited Milosh to fly out to Berlin, where he was staying with a friend. The musician requested that the pair stay in a separate apartment at her expense. Nikolas obliged, saying she “felt bad for him and his pride as a struggling artist.” Later, she realised that the 300 euros Milosh asked for was used to pay the rent for an apartment he shared with his girlfriend at the time.
The post details that Nikolas experienced her first sexual encounter with Milosh on their first night together in Berlin. She details that he coerced her to engage in unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse.
“My first sexual experience with Milosh was the first night I arrived in Berlin,” she wrote. “I was 18 years old and he was 35 years old. I took a shower and was on my period, which I remember feeling good about because I didn’t want to sleep with him right away. I wanted to postpone sleeping together so we could get to know one another.”
Nikolas detailed that Milosh put on music and requested she take off her clothes “I told him no, I’m on my period, and I don’t feel comfortable. He responded saying he doesn’t care about having sex while a girl is on her period. He also said he likes the taste of blood. I remember feeling very uncomfortable but I was attracted to him and I did not want our first sexual experience to be spoiled.”
“I did not respect my no and neither did he,” she adds.
Nikolas recalled Milosh encouraging her to “relax,” and then, “He began to press his thumb into my ass. I told him no, that does not feel good, and he said to relax and to trust him. I remember a tear coming out as he was looking down at me.”
Following the Berlin trip, Nikolas and Milosh continued a long-distance sexual relationship, in which she modelled for a number of his photographs, including the album artwork for his single ‘Don’t Pull Away.’ She also details that many of the songs on Rhye’s breakout 2013 record, Woman, were about her.
The open letter focuses on Woman track ‘Major Minor Love’, which Nikolas believes to be about her her and Milosh engaging in anal sex.
“In retrospect, reading those lyrics is deeply disturbing,” Nikolas writes. “Now each word of that song completely creeps me out. I suggest you go and read them with a new perspective. It is a song about grooming a young girl and gaslighting.” (A rep for Rhye did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
Nikolas went on to detail that Milosh asked if he could stay with her whilst he recorded in Los Angeles. She claims that she paid for his flights to Los Angeles and that “the entire time he stayed with me he never offered a single dime for gas or food.”
During their time in Los Angeles, Milosh was allegedly prone to violent outbursts, “punching the refrigerator and candles … Creating multiple dents in my fridge and even hurting his own hand through the process.”
Milosh proposed to Nikolas when she was 19, after six months of dating. Years later, she would find an email from Rhye’s record label outlining that they would not back the project if he did not acquire a U.S. visa. “This all happened right before he asked me to marry me,” Nikolas writes. “So you can connect the dots on that one.”
Nikolas also detailed incident that took place when she was on tour with Rhye in 2016, in which Milosh reacted violently to her experiencing an anxiety attack. The actress claims that Milosh “charged at me, picked me up, pushed me on the couch, and pressed his forearm into my throat and continually screamed, ‘shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up!’ I couldn’t breathe.”
In addition to the abuse inflicted on her, Nikolas alleges that Milosh habitually recorded women he had sex with, and sampled the recordings in Rhye. “In one of his songs “Don’t call it” he used the sound of me saying ‘No’ and reversed to saying ‘On’,” Nikolas wrote. “This is one of many examples of Milosh bragging about sexual violence and exploiting women in his music.”
Nikolas claims that Milosh once bragged about getting two Japanese women drunk and then having sex with them while recording audio. “I doubt he got consent because they did not speak English and they were intoxicated.” Those audio recordings appeared on his album meme.
Nikolas ended the open letter, demanding that Rhye reflect on his behaviour: “To this day I think he was grooming me since I was 16 years old and I think he got everything he wanted out of that situation, he got financial support as a struggling artist, a green card to continue his career, notoriety, and sex,” she wrote. “To this day I still suffer PTSD from that relationship, even doubting my own sanity on some days. Creating this open letter has shown me that I’m not insane. My wish to Milosh is for him to experience a profound metanoia and renounce all of his disturbing ways.”
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