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Rammstein won't be investigated in Lithuania

Sabine Oelze
June 26, 2023

Police in Vilnius said they will not investigate the band over abuse allegations. In Berlin, petitions demanding the cancellation of July Rammstein concerts were signed by near 100,000 people.

Till Lindemann with painted face singing on stage, with a red backdrop
Image: picture alliance/dpa

The prosecutor's office in Vilnius, Lithuania, said on Friday that it has not opened an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against the band Rammstein. This came after examining the circumstances of the incident surrounding the Rammstein concert in Vilnius on May 22.

It was there that Shelby Lynn, a fan from Northern Ireland, alleged her drink was spiked with a drug when she went backstage, and that the band's frontman, Till Lindemann, reacted very aggressively when she refused to have sex with him.

According to the public prosecutor's office, the police had questioned Lynn and a witness, analyzing data and documents to clarify the circumstances. According to a press release, "no objective factual evidence" was found during the examination that would prove that Lynn had been subjected to physical or mental coercion. Nor was there evidence of other acts of violence of a sexual nature, or that she had been forced to use narcotics. The decision of the public prosecutor's office can still be appealed.

Shelby Lynn promptly reacted on social media, tweeting it was no "big surprise" that the police in Vilnius "refuse to investigate," and that an investigation in Berlin is ongoing.  

The singer and the band continue to deny the accusations.

Petitions demand Berlin shows to be canceled

Meanwhile, two petitions signed by some 100,000 people are demanding that three Rammstein concerts scheduled for mid-July in Berlin be canceled due to the allegations of sexual assault against lead singer Lindemann.

One stated: "The Rammstein concerts must be canceled! Berlin must not become a place for sexual abuse! We do not celebrate perpetrators!"

An investigation into the case has been launched in Germany and various politicians and public personalities have been commenting on the allegations.

German Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Lisa Paus does not believe that the accusations against Rammstein singer Lindemann are an isolated event. "Without prejudging the specific case, the way I perceive the discussion, we have a structural problem in the concert scene that is now finally being talked about," she told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Paus sees it as the task of the organizers to "protect young fans in particular."

'Contempt for women and racism often go hand in hand' 

Felix Klein, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, also commented on the demanded cancellation. He considers it "questionable whether the planned Rammstein concerts in Berlin should take place in the Olympic Stadium, which is operated by the state," Felix Klein told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe on Monday.

"Anti-democratic discrimination such as antisemitism, contempt for women and racism often go hand in hand," Klein continued, pointing out that Rammstein has also been accused of mocking victims of the Holocaust through their video for the song "Deutschland" from 2019, which featured, among other scenes, the band members dressed as concentration camp prisoners and as Nazi henchmen.

"We should take the women concerned seriously, just as we should take Jews seriously when it comes to antisemitism," Klein said. "We must not allow the boundaries of what can be said and done to be pushed further and further, even if it's under the guise of artistic freedom."

View from the side of the stage at Munich concert, with lights and countless spectators
Despite the accusations, thousands of fans attended the concerts in Munich in early June 2023Image: Sven Hoppe/dpa/picture alliance

Solidarity with the alleged victims

At the same time, 60-year-old Rammstein front man Till Lindemann has already called in his lawyers and sent cease-and-desist letters. "It has been repeatedly claimed that women were given date rape drugs or alcohol at Rammstein concerts to enable our client to perform sexual acts on them. These allegations are without exception untrue," they said.

Women who are now receiving mail from Lindemann's lawyers are getting celebrity support. To prevent the alleged victims from being daunted by legal fees, YouTuber Rezo, actress Nora Tschirner and German comedian Carolin Kebekus are calling for donations on Instagram, "to allow equal opportunity in the case," said Tschirner.

Prosecuting attorney investigating Rammstein

Following reports of accusations against the Rammstein singer, the Berlin public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation against him. This was done on the basis of several reports of offense to the police, it was said.

Several women have made serious accusations against Lindemann in recent weeks.

The wave of accusations followed an initial testimony posted on different social media platforms by Shelby Lynn from Northern Ireland, in which she described how she ended up drugged and bruised after a backstage party at a Rammstein concert in Lithuania. She told DW about the threats she has been facing since: "There have been death-threats and bounties for me, 200,000 whatever, things like — direct quotation — 'I want to find you and rape you; I hope you die; liar, whore; slut; groupie; what do you expect if you are dressed like this?'"

Lynn says she is not intimidated by these threats. "What I care about is getting these voices actually heard for once. And if it means I have to be the person to take on the onslaught of hate, I don't care. Go ahead."

Meanwhile, in interviews with the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcaster NDR, other women also described being specifically recruited to have sex with the singer. Two women also reported alleged sexual acts to which they had not consented. The band has denied the allegations.

Stars in a position of power

According to Paus, the case exposes a fundamental problem: "Some public events are not organized in a way that women and girls can really feel safe." There are "stars who clearly abuse their position of power over women," she said. Both of these things must change, the minister demanded.

Guards in the front, and protestors with signs in the back at the Rammstein show in Munich.
Protests at the Rammstein show in MunichImage: Sven Hoppe/dpa/picture alliance

Even if a cancellation of the concerts is unlikely — there were also petitions against the tour of singer Roger Waters, who is accused of antisemitism — it is at least certain that there will be no after-show parties in Berlin, as Berlin Senator for the Interior and Sports Iris Spranger announced last week.

Yet, the criticism does not seem to have affected the success of the band Rammstein. In the latest Top 100 album charts, the group is again represented with six of its eight studio albums so far, and all were able to significantly gain ground.

This article was originally written in German and adapted into English by Louisa Schaefer. The interview with Shelby Lynn was conducted by Giulia Saudelli.