Famed techno DJ Derrick May was dropped from lineups earlier this year amid sexual assault allegations that began to appear online. Multiple accounts of sexual violence started surfacing against Derrick May as cases against the late Erick Morillo gained attention via social media. In the last twenty-four hours both DJ Mag and Resident Advisor revealed details of multiple women coming forward with incidents of sexual violence against Derrick May.
Content warning: the below contains information relating to sexual assault.
Resident Advisor spoke to 16 people who claim to have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed by May, as well as to many witnesses and close friends of the alleged victims who have supported these claims. DJ Mag detailed the accounts of four women who were subjected to sexual abuse by Derrick May. Taken together, these accounts portray a pattern of sexual harassment and sexual assault that dates back at least 20 years and has occurred in numerous countries.
Below is one of the accounts:
“Lara (name changed to protect her identity) met Derrick May in the UK in 2004, when she was a teenager. The teen was a huge fan of May’s and was excited to see him play in her favourite club with a group of friends. Lara and a female friend were dancing in front of the DJ booth — where she says they caught the DJ’s eye. He said: “I’ll see you ladies later.”
The group would regularly stay in the club after the night ended, where they would have a drink and decide what to do after. Lara says, on this occasion, May joined them and started chatting to the girls, before inviting them back to his hotel for an after party. Excited, the girls agreed and asked if they could bring their friends.
“He said we could bring our guy friend, who was standing there with us, and that the others could join later,” Lara says. “We got in a taxi together and I just remember it all being so exciting. I was a real music nerd so I was asking him all these questions about his tracks. We were having the most amazing chat. It was all so surreal.”
“I was also a huge Carl Craig fan and Derrick said he could call him so I could speak to him over the phone. I was really, really excited — it felt like one of those bucket list moments when you meet your musical heroes.”
When they got back to the hotel, Lara says the group went up to May’s room and May ordered a couple of bottles of red wine for them to share. “We were chatting about music and politics and just laughing a lot,” Lara says. “We were probably there for a couple of hours, just drinking wine and chatting. I remember the sun coming up and feeling really happy — like ‘this is amazing, what a wonderful, wonderful experience’.”
Lara says that, all of a sudden, she felt extremely tired, “like she had to close her eyes.” She went over to sit on the bed, where she says she passed out. May reportedly suggested her male friend leave soon after Lara went to bed, leaving him alone with the two young women.
Lara reports: “The next thing I recall was someone touching me on my side. I opened my eyes and remember feeling really disoriented. I saw Derrick standing in front of me, completely naked and with an erection. Before I could say anything, he kissed me and shoved his tongue down my throat. I was really shocked. I made it clear I didn’t want that.”
May moved away from her and Lara told her female friend they needed to go. As both girls began to gather their things, Lara says: “Derrick went crazy”. “He sat on the bed, pulled the covers over his bottom half and started insulting me. He was shouting, insulting my appearance — it felt like he was just trying to grab on to anything he could to attack me,” she continues.
“I remember thinking ‘this is really surreal, I’m having an argument with Derrick May, who’s old enough to be my dad and is naked in bed in front of me’. When it was clear we were leaving he gave me this crazy stare, it was almost cross-eyed — like he was trying to wish death on me. It was really intimidating. He angrily said ‘I never want to see you again’ as I left the room.”
Lara reports she and her friend left the hotel and Lara went to meet a friend at a nearby after party, who she had called crying. The friend recalls Lara seeming “really shook up” and “crying her eyes out in the middle of an after party of 30 or 40 people”.
Lara says that the reported incident has had a lasting impact on her life. “I missed a lot of school afterwards, in my A-Level year,” she says. “I felt like such an idiot and really blamed myself for being so naive. It was like I’d all of a sudden grown up and seen the world for what it was. It really affected me for a few years.
“Before this happened, I wanted to be a DJ and had been saving up to buy decks — but I felt like I’d fucked it all up before it even started. I was worried about running into him in person, and him shouting or getting angry at me. I really felt like he would have the power to say ‘remove that girl from the bill’ or ‘blacklist her’ if he ever saw my name on a line-up, which sounds ridiculous now. But I really thought he was that powerful.”
Lara says she had put the incident behind her until recently, when she noticed other allegations circling online about May — which made her realise she was not alone. “For years I thought I was the only person he did this to,” Lara says. “I think he’s a terrible person.””
May defended his name against the allegations with the following statement:
As a black man working in a white-dominated and openly biased industry, am I expected to have learned the painful lesson that there is no such thing as truth, fairness, or due process?
When will the long, storied history of weaponizing the sexuality of African American men end?
Must I collaborate under duress with my own victimization at the hands of an openly hostile press that amplifies the so-called fears of privileged, anonymous women in an internet-mediated lynching?
I have no interest in legitimizing these distortions.
Women are the conduit of life, and as such, are to be protected, and not exploited. I live by those words.
Derrick May’s statement against recent sexual violence allegations
Read the DJ Mag article in full HERE.
Read the Resident Advisor article in full HERE.