Rumors of sexual assault and abuse of power on social media are not always taken seriously, but the accusations against the frontman of German band Rammstein, Till Lindemann, are now gaining weight.
Following the claims by Shelby Lynn that were made public earlier this week, a new investigation by German reporters shows that the case could by part of a systematic process to satisfy Lindemann's sexual requests.
The case that triggered more reports: Shelby Lynn's testimony
Lynn, a fan from Ireland, had traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, to attend a Rammstein concert, the first one of their Europe Stadium Tour.
There, she was invited to a concert party. She reports that she met there the band's frontman, Till Lindemann, and that he wanted to have sex with her. Lynn said that Lindemann reacted very aggressively when she refused.
She also suspects that one of her drinks was spiked with drugs, because she has no memory of a part of the evening after having only two drinks and a shot of tequila. She says that she was left bruised and vomiting for 24 hours after the concert.
She posted a picture of her injuries online and filed a complaint.
Young female fans systematically recruited for sex?
On June 2, German public broadcaster NDR and daily Süddeutsche Zeitung published an exclusive report with new testimonies of women whose experiences mirror Shelby Lynn's, uncovering a systematic process to recruit attractive young women as participants in after-show parties, who were reportedly specifically chosen to have sex with Till Lindemann.
The journalists have collected the statutory declarations of more than a dozen women, who have described how they were approached by Rammstein's team, either through Instagram or at the concerts. Some of them were asked to send photos ahead of the event, or were photographed and filmed on site. The selected women said were asked to dress in a certain way for the event, and were given access to what is known as "row zero" during the concert, a special restricted space directly in front of the stage.
One woman reports that she was even directly informed that access to the party was only for those who were interested in having sex with Lindemann, and that the 60-year-old rocker only wanted very young women to attend.
Other women note that they were not even asked their age, even though they were offered alcohol and illegal drugs at the parties.
The reporters have also collected several screenshots from WhatsApp and Instagram chats backing the women's statements.
They have also filmed testimonies of two women, who decided to remain anonymous but provided a statutory declaration, who described their sexual encounter with Till Lindemann.
One of them describes having extremely painful sex with the star. While she didn't dare tell him she was feeling uncomfortable in the situation "because it was Lindemann," she says she now realizes that it was a form of power abuse.
The other woman reports how she ended up unconscious on a hotel bed while attending Lindemann's after-show party. She says that when she regained consciousness, he was still lying on her. He asked her if he should stop, but she said that she "didn't even know what he wanted to stop doing." Lindemann then left.
She later asked members of the team to get to talk to Lindemann, but they didn't see the point. She wanted to find out if he had at least used a condom.
No comments from Lindemann and Rammstein
Lindemann and the people involved in the reported recruitment of the young women did not reply to NDR's and Süddeutsche Zeitung's requests for comments.
Following Lynn's statement, the band has rejected all allegations on their Twitter account.
"With regard to the allegations circulating on the internet about Vilnius, we can rule out the possibility that what is being claimed took place in our environment," they stated in a tweet. "We are not aware of any official investigations into this matter."
Other women reported — anonymously — of having had similar experiences and expressed their full solidarity with Shelby Lynn. Others urged caution, as the claims were still unproven.
Many Rammstein fans consider the band's Twitter post to be insufficient and have asked through the band's social media channels why they are not addressing the issue more explicitly.
One Instagram user asked: "Don't you want to at least try to solve this problem? It is too serious for a single tweet to make a difference."
Rammstein, however, has until now kept a low profile, posting pictures of their performances.
A 2020 poem by Lindemann about rape
Amid the current accusations, a poem by Till Lindemann from 2020 is also being widely shared online, in which he writes, "I like to sleep with you while you sleep ... A bit Rophynol in a glass of wine / You can't move at all / And you sleep, it's a blessing."
The poem was already criticized upon its publication, but it was interpreted as a fantasy told from the perspective of a fictional rapist.
Lindemann and Rammstein are known for breaking all taboos with their lyrics, videos and marketing stunts.
Lynn has also collected more testimonies
Shelby Lynn's testimony started gaining traction after she created on May 25 a new Twitter account with the profile description, "The girl who got spiked AT Rammstein."
She is using the account to document her experience and her claims, as well as to collect testimonies from other alleged victims.
Following initial reports of sexual assault, Lynn added a clarification on Twitter, in which she specifies that Lindemann did not touch her. "He accepted that I didn't want to have sex with him. I never claimed he raped me."
Rammstein's European stadium tour kicked off in Vilnius on May 22 and it will take them across Europe throughout the summer. In Germany, the band will perform in Munich in June and in Berlin in July.
This article was originally written in German.
Update: First published on May 30, this article was updated on June 2 with new accusations.