Content warning: This article about Rhye contains descriptions of alleged sexual battery and gender violence.
Actress Alexa Nikolas is suing her ex-husband, Michael Milosh of Rhye, for sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, gender violence, and a violation of California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims that Milosh “utilized his power of authority and seniority over [Nikolas], as well as years of sexual grooming of [Nikolas] as a minor child, to manipulate her into trusting him.” It claims that upon gaining her trust, Milosh “terrorized, sodomized, and abused [Nikolas] as part of his continuous conduct aimed at satisfying his prurient and economic desires.”
The lawsuit echoes the claims Nikolas made public in an open letter shared to Instagram in March, titled Groomed by the Groom. The letter accused Milosh of being an ephebophile, and alleged that the Canadian musician began grooming her at age 16 for “a green card, success, and sex.”
The suit reiterates that Nikolas and Milosh first made contact when she was 16 and he was 33. In 2008, Nikolas allegedly “reached out to Milosh via his Myspace page, complimenting his music, and commenting that she would like to see him perform the next time he was in Los Angeles.”
Milosh responded and the two reportedly spoke on the phone for more than an hour. Following their call, the two began speaking frequently via phone, text message, and Skype for almost two years.
The lawsuit claims that during this communication, while Nikolas was a minor, Milosh “repeatedly [asked] to see [Nikolas] in person, take photographs of her, and [requested] she send explicit photographs of herself to him,” according to the lawsuit. “Nikolas acquiesced,” the lawsuit says, “undressing herself and revealing her naked body to him numerous times.”
Get the latest Electronic news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
The lawsuit alleges that Nikolas and Milosh first met in person when Nikolas was 18. Detailing that after meeting in real life, “Milosh groomed and coerced Nikolas to believe she was in love, that he loved her, and that they had a genuine connection and consensual relationship.”
Nikolas claims that “Milosh began pressuring [her] to take off her clothes,” and also “supplied [her] with excessive alcohol to easily manipulate her and continued to encourage [her] to undress.”
The suit goes on to detail an incident of alleged sexual abuse, “After Nikolas took off her clothing, Milosh immediately began digitally penetrating Nikolas in her anus. Nikolas asked Milosh to stop, but he refused. Nikolas told Milosh the penetration hurt, but he ignored her.”
Nikolas also claims that Milosh “coerced Nikolas to allow him to record them having sex with both video and audio while she was heavily intoxicated.” The lawsuit claims that Milosh used the audio throughout the Rhye album Jet Lag. Alleging that “a portion of this audio was used in the song ‘Don’t Call It,’ where Nikolas was saying ‘no’ in response to Milosh anally penetrating her. At the end of the song, Milosh included sounds of Nikolas in pain during forced anal penetration.”
The suit also claims that Milosh was enabled by record labels, management companies, and other corporate entities representing Rhye that “support[ed] him financially and ratif[ied] his misconduct despite knowledge that Nikolas was a minor and continuing to suffer abuse even after the age of majority.”
“Sadly, Alexa’s story is not an outlier,” said Karen Menzies of Gibbs Law Group, an attorney for Nikolas. “We continue to see predators in the music industry use their celebrity and influence to target women, especially underage girls.
“In many cases, management companies, record labels and promoters turn a blind eye, and even enable or participate to protect their financial interests and investment. This is a systemic failure, and we hope to see more survivors like Alexa gaining the courage to speak out to hold perpetrators accountable when the music industry has failed to do so.”