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Multiple women accuse Derrick May of sexual assault and harassment

A new investigation by Ellie Flynn for DJ Mag details incidents dating back 20 years

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 12 November 2020
Multiple women accuse Derrick May of sexual assault and harassment

WARNING: This article includes accounts of sexual assault and may be distressing for some readers. Resources for support are listed at the end of this article

Multiple women have come forward to report experiences of sexual assault and harrassment by Derrick May, detailed in an investigation by journalist Ellie Flynn for DJ Mag.

The report follows on from Derrick May being dropped from the line-ups of Paris Electronic Week and FAC51’s planned The Haçienda's Easter weekend in 2021 in relation to allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the DJ from Detroit.

A journalist and former friend of May’s named Michael James has repeatedly shared serious allegations against May, which May has denied, including calling him a “sexual predator” in a post in March. James is also in a longstanding dispute with May about the rights to 1987 track ‘Strings of Life’.

Ellie Flynn’s new investigation for DJ Mag includes accounts from four women, dating back two decades and covering incidents taking place across the UK, US, Netherlands and New Zealand.

One account from Tania* describes May pushing her onto the step of a flight of stairs in his home in Detroit and pulling out his penis and holding it in front of her face. Tania worked with May across several years in the early-to-mid 00s and also says she was financially exploited in doing this. She describes another incident in London where she was lured back to his hotel upon the promise of being paid money she was owed, where May sexually assaulted her.

Among the other accounts, Sophia* describes May groping her in the backstage area of a club, Lara* describes attending an after party in May’s hotel room when she was a teenager and waking up with him standing above her naked with an erection and aggressively kissing her, and Lisa* describes May sexually assaulting her after she showed him to his room while working at a hotel.

Derrick May made a statement to DJ Mag, saying: "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.”

Read the full investigation on DJ Mag.

*(names changed to protect identity)

AFEM sponsor a confidential support service for anyone affected by sexual harassment within the Electronic Music Industry
Health Assured provide the service to ensure confidential expert counselling
A safe and supportive environment for anyone who has been affected and needs guidance and support
Call 0800 030 5182, (Outside the UK: +44 800 030 5182) where trained experts will listen and support

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