Mark Kozelek Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The Sun Kil Moon songwriter faces allegations from three women

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Aug 13, 2020

Mark Kozelek has been accused of sexual misconduct by three women. 

A new investigative report from Pitchfork details accounts of how the Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters songwriter allegedly exposed himself without consent, forced a woman to touch him inappropriately, and pressured a 19-year-old woman into non-consensual sex.

UPDATE (8/17, 9:45 p.m. ET): Kozelek has now issued a statement denying the claims lodged against him in the article.

One woman, Sarah Golden, told Pitchfork of how she spent time with Kozelek in Portugal after attending a Sun Kil Moon concert in the beach town of Espinho. After striking up a conversation with the songwriter after a flight, Kozelek put her name on the guest list for the evening's show.

After speaking backstage, the two went back to his hotel room, with Golden heading to the balcony to smoke while Kozelek took a phone call inside. Golden told Pitchfork that when he joined her outdoors, he was wearing only a T-shirt and underwear.

After going indoors, Kozelek got into one of the room's two twin beds and began asking Golden to lie down with him and stay the night. She told Pitchfork that upon telling him she wasn't interested, "his whole demeanour just changed."

Golden alleges that Kozelek then pushed the two beds together and laid down on top of her. "At that point, I was kind of in shock," she told Pitchfork. "I told him I really needed to get a cab, if he could please just call for it."

Golden alleges that after calling the taxi, Kozelek began masturbating, grabbing at her clothes and body, tried to kiss her, and forcibly pulled her hand into contact with his penis.

While Golden did not report the incident to Portuguese police, she texted two friends about the encounter who confirmed her account to Pitchfork. She also claims that Kozelek appears to sing about their first conversations on "Soap for Joyful Hands," which appeared on 2018 Sun Kil Moon album This Is My Dinner, though the song's lyrics are written as if he and the woman then went separate ways.

Golden told Pitchfork that prior to the incident, Kozelek had spoken to her about society's "desexualization of people as they age," eventually "giving her 'a guilt trip about how I was afraid of him because he's old, and I'm just like everyone else, because I think he's too old, he can't be attractive.'"

That detail was corroborated by a second woman — a female musician who declined to be named in Pitchfork's report — who claims Kozelek made similar comments about his age and sexual appeal after inviting her and another female musician to his hotel room following a festival in 2014. After asking them to bring copies of the albums for him to hear when they came to his room, he is alleged to have acted inappropriately with the women as well.

A third woman, who asked not to be identified, told Pitchfork that Kozelek allegedly exposed himself to her without consent in a hotel room in Raleigh, NC, in September 2014. In a series of Facebook messages to a friend the next day, she said that the sex "wasn't really consensual," writing, "I was just really afraid to say no...He focused on my age a lot...He kept asking me to say how old i was (literally one of the worst things i've had to go through) and he called himself 'daddy.'"

The woman told Pitchfork that some of her later encounters with Kozelek were consensual, while "the lines [were] really blurred" with others, explaining, "I feel like our sexual relationship, every encounter was him trying to find another thing he could do, and not in a way where he asks for consent or permission."

Pitchfork reports that they made "more than a dozen" attempts to contact Kozelek and his representatives by telephone and email seeking comment, though none were returned. You can read their complete report here.

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