More than 35 years after famed all-girl rock band The Runaways disbanded, its members are facing some serious allegations. Joan Jett and Cherie Currie recently released statements defending themselves after bandmate Jackie Fox alleged that the band’s manager, Kim Fowley, raped her in front of the band.
Fox, 55, told her story in a headline-making interview with The Huffington Post last week. The musician recalled an alleged incident that happened after a Runaways performance, in which Fox was given and told to take Quaaludes. Fox said that she lied down to rest as the party continued, struggling to maintain consciousness.
She added that manager Fowley then offered her up for a roadie to have sex with, saying, “She doesn’t mind. Do you?” She explained that she was so far under the influence that she was unable to forcibly protest.
“You don’t know what terror is until you realize something bad is about to happen to you and you can’t move a muscle,” she told HuffPost. “I can’t move. I can’t speak. All I can do is look him in the eye and do the best I can do to communicate: Please say no. … I don’t know what it looked like from the outside. But I know what was going on inside and it was horror.”
The roadie allegedly turned down Fowley, and one of Fox’s friends, Helen Roessler, recounted what happened next. She told HuffPost that Fowley undressed himself and Fox, and proceeded to rape her as the partygoers watched, inspiring some to get up and leave and others to “pretend like nothing was going on.”
“I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,” Fox added, telling HuffPost that she saw bandmates Jett and Currie staring at her. The two women responded to the allegations in separate statements following the story’s publication.
“Anyone who truly knows me understands that if I was aware of a friend or bandmate being violated, I would not stand by while it happened,” Jett, 56, wrote on her official Facebook page. “For a group of young teenagers thrust into 70s rock stardom there were relationships that were bizarre, but I was not aware of this incident. Obviously Jackie’s story is extremely upsetting and although we haven’t spoken in decades, I wish her peace and healing.”
Currie, 55, was referenced in the original story as claiming that “she spoke up and stormed out of the room,” and wrote multiple of her own Facebook posts. “All I can say is if Joan, Sandy and I saw an unconscious girl being brutally raped in front of us, we would have hit him over the head with a chair,” she first said, referencing the late Runaways drummer Sandy West.
“I have been accused of a crime,” Currie added the following day. “Of looking into the dead yet pleading eyes of a girl, unable to move while she was brutally raped and doing nothing. I have never been one to deny my mistakes in life and I wouldn’t start now. If I were guilty, I would admit it. There are so many excuses I could make being only one month into my sixteenth year at the time that people would understand but I am innocent. When I return from Sweden I will seek a qualified polygraph examiner to put to rest any and all allegations. I will make public the questions, answers and results of that test. I will prove I am telling the truth. I will not allow anyone to throw me under the bus and accuse me of such a foul act. I will fight for myself. It is the only thing I can do and I’m glad to do it.”
For her part, Fox released her own additional statement in the early hours of Monday morning, writing on Facebook, “I have been so incredibly moved over the last few days by the outpouring of love and support that has followed the story of my rape on New Year’s Eve 1975… This was not an easy story for me to tell… I know some people watching the online drama unfold have been discouraged by the lack of support I’ve received from my former bandmates. To which I can only say that I hope you never have to walk in their shoes. My rape was traumatic for everyone, not just me, and everyone deals with trauma in their own way and time. It took exceptional courage for many of the witnesses to talk frankly about how they felt. Most have apologized to me for their inaction that night — apologies that have been unnecessary, though welcome.”
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