On Jackie Fuchs’ rape and ‘the bystander effect’

Kim Fowley and the Runaways. (Jackie Fuchs is second from right.)

I was so upset after reading Jason Cherkis’ powerful story on the Runaways, the girl-band that made women like Lita Ford and Joan Jett into rock legends, I surprised even myself. You would think, in my line of work, that this kind of thing would cease to shock and appall — Oh surprise, surprise, 70s rock and roll was rife with pedaphillic predators. Tell me something I don’t know.

Last year I fell into an internet wormhole, reading about the many assaults perpetrated by our 70s rock heros. “Relationships” between grown men and very young women were completely normalized in the scene and no one said a word about the abuse and exploitation they witnessed, chalking it up to “sex, drugs, and rock n roll.”

A few examples:

– Jimmy Page kidnapped and assaulted 14 year old Lori Maddox, who ended up staying with him for three years due to what I assume can be equated to a kind of trauma bonding or Stockholm Syndrome. (Maddox, in fact, had been groomed for this abuse already, having lost her virginity to David Bowie at 13.)

Lori Maddox, Sable Starr, members of Led Zepplin and their entourage.
Lori Maddox, Sable Starr, members of Led Zepplin and their entourage.

— Cher met Sonny Bono when he was 27 and she was 16.

— Iggy Pop had sex with “baby groupie,” Sable Starr, when she was 13.

— Rolling Stones guitarist, Bill Wyman, “dated” 13 year old Mandy Smith when he was 47, eventually marrying her.

— At 27, Steven Tyler had a 14 year old “girlfriend,” that is to say, he convinced Julia Holcomb’s mother to sign over guardian rights to him, so he could take her across state lines with him while he was on tour. Of her relationship with Tyler, Holcomb said, “I was subordinate to him as in a parent relationship and felt I had little control over my life.” She also says that Tyler has hypersexualized her publicly, referring to her as “my Little Oral Annie” in his memoir.

— At 30, Ted Nugent (who wrote a song about raping a 13 year old girl) became the legal guardian of 17 year old Pele Massa in order to avoid being charged with statutory rape.

Sable Starr and Iggy Pop.
Sable Starr and Iggy Pop.

There are many more stories like these. If you read up on famous “groupies” like Bebe Buell and Pennie Trumble (the women Penny Lane’s character in Almost Famous was based on), you’ll find tale after tale of underage girls who were preyed upon by adult men in the rock scene.

Some romanticize this, thinking these were sexually empowered, wild, “temptresses” who idolized rock stars and just wanted to be near their heros, but a girl’s fandom or perceived “maturity” doesn’t make it ok for men to take advantage. In fact, the power differential of fan to idol, in and of itself, is rather grotesque when it comes to sexual relationships. So I really don’t care that these girls “dressed the part” or even if some of them technically “consented” to relationships with these men. That’s called victim blaming and lacks understanding in terms of the role of power and coercion in abusive relationships. (Priscilla Presley, for example, was 14 years old when 24 year old Elvis Presley began pursuing her — at the time she may have thought she “loved” him, but in retrospect she said, “I was someone he created. I was just a kid and I was consumed by him. All I desired was not to disappoint him.”) It is the responsibility of adults to not have sex with children. That these men intentionally preyed on women who were not yet, in fact, women, only shows that they are abusive men, driven by their egos and a desire to have someone they can control under their thumb.

While celebrity men continue to take advantage of their positions of power to exploit young women and girls (see: R. Kelly), the public, at large, is disapproving of this kind of behaviour today. Back then, this predatory behaviour seems to have been either ignored or laughed off (boys will be boys!).

What Cherkis brings to light in his story is Runaways band member Jackie Fuchs’ (also known as Jackie Fox) rape, perpetrated by the band’s manager, Kim Fowley. The assault happened at a party, in front of a number of people, including then-bandmates, Cherie Curie and Jett. Fowley was 36, Fuchs was 16. She had been given alcohol and Quaaludes and was immobile. Cherkis writes:

“Fowley invited other guys to have sex with Jackie before removing his own pants and climbing on top of her. “Kim’s fucking someone!” a voice shouted from the door of the motel room to the partygoers outside, calling them in to watch. Arguelles returned to the room to see if this was all a big joke.

On the bed, Fowley played to the crowd, gnashing his teeth and growling like a dog as he raped Jackie. He got up at one point to strut around the room before returning to Jackie’s body.

‘I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,’ Jackie says. She looked out from the bed and noticed Currie and Jett staring at her. She says this was her last memory of the night. Jett, through a representative, denied witnessing the event as it has been described here. Her representative referred all further questions to Jackie ‘as it’s a matter involving her and she can speak for herself.'”

Fowley spent his life pursuing vulnerable, underage girls. He was open about that — proud even. Cherkis writes, “As Fowley himself put it in Queens of Noise, describing his taste for vulnerable women: ‘I’m like a shark. I’ll smell the blood.'”

Babes in Toyland bassist, Maureen Herman, relays a story Steve Silver told about Fowley, when he brought a 17 year old musician friend to a party Fowley was at:

“I open a door and my friend is in there with Fowley. I start to back out, thinking I’m interrupting. She screams, ‘Steve, help me! Get him off me!’ She’s crying. I’m pulling him through the loft, he’s screaming about mistakes. You know I beat his ass, toss him out on the street. This is back when that part of Sheridan Road was fucking nasty. My friend is in tears, I am walking her out to the car, Fowley is standing in the street, by a bus stop, starts screaming, ‘Fuck you, you cunt! I will make sure you never get a record deal!'”

Before Fuchs joined the band, Fowley had also sexually assaulted 14 year old Kari Krome, an aspiring songwriter who’d he’d been grooming since she was 13 years old.

“I didn’t know how to say, ‘I don’t want you to do this,’” Krome says. “I did not have that voice… I was also scared of him. He could be really scary.” Fowley sexually assaulted her several other times, Krome says. “In his mind, he thought he was having a relationship with me, like a romantic relationship,” she says. “He didn’t care what I thought about it. He just decided.”

Bandmembers, Sandy West and Jett knew about the ongoing abuse — Krome tried to tell them about it, hoping for support, but was met with blank stares.

I can only imagine how many more victims there were. I don’t want to imagine how many there were… What we do know is that these kinds of men will get away with whatever they can, so long as they are allowed to.

But while this story is about the actions of one man, this isn’t really just about one man. There were many others like him and many more who enabled this behaviour.

We know we must blame the perpetrator, but we also know that, when it comes to famous, powerful men, they tend to have entourages who protect them from accountability. We know that a larger culture that teaches men they are entitled to women’s bodies and to sex — whenever and however they want it — is culpable as well. We know that the sexualization of young women and girls in porn contributes to their fetishization and abuse. In a response from Kathy Valentine, a member of The Go-Gos, on Facebook, she writes:

“In the 70’s, the post sexual revolution was in full force. The debauchery that followed on the heels of the ‘free love’ era of the 60’s took all kinds of forms. A lot of women gave in to unwanted sex because they didn’t want to be seen as uptight prudes. Porn became more prevalent and began sending the message that women ‘wanted it,’ and wanted it bad.”

When Fowley raped Fuchs on New Years Eve, at a party in a motel room, she was barely conscious. Fowley performed for his audience, some of whom were friends of Fuchs. She saw both Jett and Currie in the room. Though Jett denies being there, supposedly the rape became a joke among band members after Fuchs had a break down and quit. Krome was there too, disgusted, but she had no idea what to do about the assault. She didn’t want to call the police — something likely only result in her being called a troublemaker, or worse.

I struggled with my feelings of anger after reading the piece. I wanted very much to direct my disgust and outrage where it belonged — at the perpetrator. At the same time I couldn’t help but feel livid at those who knew but did and said nothing. Abuse is traumatic enough but, as many of us know, silence and a lack of support is retraumatizing and compounds the devastation. Silence isolates victims and ensures men are able to continue to assault women and girls with impunity.

What broke my heart the most was that, after Fuchs’ trauma, no one spoke of the incident. Just imagine: Everyone watches you be raped, but pretends nothing out of the ordinary has happened. It’s crazy-making. As a result, Fuchs kept silent all this time, assuming that was her only recourse. Cherkis writes:

“Jackie took her bandmates’ silence to mean that she should keep quiet, too. ‘I didn’t know if anybody would have backed me,’ she says. ‘I knew I would be treated horribly by the police — that I was going to be the one that ended up on trial more than Kim. I carried this sense of shame and of thinking it was somehow my fault for decades.'”

Fuchs seems to have managed to forgive her friends, bandmates, and the other witnesses at the party. She believes “the bystander effect” came into play, something that causes individuals in groups not to intervene or help victims.

Valentine explains that she, herself, witnessed similar incidents as a young teen — guys lining up at parties to “gang bang passed out girls.” “I know why I didn’t do anything, or why I got the hell out of there,” she wrote, “because it’s really fucking scary.”

“Suppose they decide to turn on me? I was often the youngest person at parties, desperate to fit in and belong and these guys were popular and cool. I didn’t know the girl it was happening to, maybe she didn’t care for all I knew. The emotions and thought process of a young girl knowing something like that is going on are very complicated. Put on top of it being stoned and drunk and you have the recipe for a teen age bystander.”

It makes sense that a bunch of 14 year old girls caught up in a man’s world and groomed by an abuser would not know how to intervene or address another girl’s rape in a responsible way. Others in the room, Cherkis said in an interview, were also traumatized by the event, suffering from enormous guilt over the years.

So the rage I felt initially at bystanders has subsided a little, but I am struggling to forgive enablers and those who continued to ignore and deny this behaviour for decades.

My anger towards Jett, in particular, grew as she doubled-down on her claims of ignorance (Victory Tischler-Blue, who joined the band after Fuchs left, confirms that all members of the Runaways “have always been aware of this ugly event”) — on Friday she published a statement on her Facebook page, saying she had no knowledge of Fuchs’ rape and that she would not stand by and do nothing if she witnessed such a thing.

She adds that “there were relationships that were bizarre” in the 70s rock scene, leading one to question what, exactly, she means by “bizarre.” Abusive men who prey on and rape girls does not, after all, constitute a “bizarre relationship.” That statement, in and of itself, strikes me as a way to excuse what went on rather than acknowledge and address reality.

My heart broke again when I read Fuchs’ statement, published Sunday on Facebook. While she has received an outpouring of support, she also writes, “I thought I had prepared myself for the haters — I was wrong. I was shocked by some of the vitriol; more so by the fact that nearly all of it came from other women.”

Despite that, what follows is an incredibly forgiving and poignant reminder of something I’m still having a hard time remembering:

“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.

…It can’t have been easy to listen to the way the band treated me after I left (treatment I was mercifully unaware of at the time). All I can say about what was said and done is that my bandmates were children who’d witnessed something criminal and tragic. I’ve no doubt they were dealing with it as best they were able. They had no responsible adults to guide them – only a rapist and his apologists.

If I am disappointed in one thing, it is that the story has become about who knew what when and who did or didn’t do what. That isn’t the story at all.”

And she’s mostly right. If there’s one person to blame here, it’s Fowley (who, unfortunately, escaped accountability through death, celebrated as an “eccentric genius”). I do think that our anger at witnesses who denied the incident or even who stayed silent makes sense in a way, though. That anger is about our culture and is about enabling perpetrators. It’s about who gets away with what and why. It’s also about betrayal and our ability to heal. How can we heal when we can’t even acknowledge what’s happened to us?

I wrote, last year, about Camille Cosby’s defenses of her husband; saying that while I felt sickened by her comments about rape victims, painting women as malicious liars, I also felt a certain level of sympathy for her (that sympathy has dwindled, now, as she continues her defenses and victim blaming, despite mounting evidence). While I don’t think women’s contributions to rape culture are ok in any way, I also acknowledge (and we see this happening once again in Fuchs’ case) that women are taught to hate one another — to see their sisters as their enemies, not men. In order to cope with the level of misogyny we experience and witness in this culture, many women choose to exist in a state of denial, often for their whole lives. There is a feeling of helplessness that is learned — when we speak out we are ignored, attacked, or abandoned, so we simply stop speaking out. There is no grand reward for siding with other women in our culture.

That almost all of the vitriol hurled at Fuchs since she’s shared her story came from women is sad, but unsurprising. In my own experience, most of the harassment and attacks leveled at me online come from women. I remember, as a teenager, feeling rage at female friends who made excuses for rapists, instead labeling victims — our friends and acquaintances — as “sluts” and liars — girls who just wanted attention or who were trying to steal their boyfriends. When I told the truth about my abuser years ago, it was women who ostracized me, called me crazy, and implied the abuse was my fault or was something that went “both ways.” They put me on trial, testing me for inaccuracies and motives, rather than questioning his behaviour.

I honestly don’t know if I can forgive all these women. I’m trying. But somehow it feels much worse to be abandoned by those who should know exactly what you are going through — who’ve also suffered at the hands of men. We expect men to side with their brethren, but it’s women we really need onside.

I hope Jett has some kind of revelation and realizes that denial won’t help anything. It won’t help her to cope with who-knows-what she experienced in her decades in the rock scene nor will it help victims — not Fowley’s, not Led Zepplin’s “groupies,” not any of the other girls whose stories we’re unlikely to ever hear. The guilt must be immense, but the more all of us speak out, the less guilt we’ll be left with at having abandoned our sisters, for whatever reason we felt we had to.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Miep

    I had a girlfriend when we were about 14 who had a “boyfriend” in his 20’s. The adults involved knew about this, the man did her in their house. I cannot imagine what I could have done about it. Call the police? We were taught the police were the enemy. We were all on the other side of the law, in some manner.

    It’s easy enough to groom girls like this to see themselves as part of something exotic and an insider. If you blow the whistle you will be shunned and hated and busted for illegal drug use. It’s hard enough on *adult* women who blow such whistles.

    • Meghan Murphy

      It’s hard to know what to do and certainly I don’t want to put all the onus on women to be constantly putting themselves in the line of fire by calling out abuse and rape… At the same time, at a certain point, someone has to do something. If we all stand by and pretend it’s ok, it becomes ok…

  • DefenderofThemyscira

    Misogyny has been one of the ugly things that rock in general has had to deal with, aside from racism and the stealing of work from black artists. I get that some of these artists are no doubt pioneers but that doesn’t make them immune to criticism and moral outrage. As a person who listens to metal this is a familiar phenomenon to me,that is different artists getting away with having toxic views just because they’re good at what they do. This has to stop.

  • Sylvia Black

    I would like to see each of these Rock-Rapists go down Cosby style.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I am angry as fuck Fowley is dead. I wish he were alive to account for the decades of abuse he got away with. Fuck cancer for taking him before he could be held to account.

      • Red

        Cancer is a nasty death, so look at it this way, you bet he paid for it. Not legally, no, but physically, sure.

        • Morag

          But, no. He didn’t “pay” for it in any way. What happened is that he got cancer, and undoubtedly he suffered, and then he died. Like so many people — young and old, good and bad — get cancer, suffer, and die. For no moral reason whatsoever. It is random. They were not being held to account any more than Fowley was. Like Meghan said, he died before that could happen.

      • Sanaa

        He died of bladder cancer. Can you imagine a most humiliating way to die? I hate to think that sickness is punishment for nasty people, because it is not. But in his case, I want to think that from all my heart.
        And in such times like this I’m very thankful that I am a Muslim because you what, I believe that God will punish him in hell forever and ever and when his skin melts and becomes senseless, it’s going to be renewed and he will be tortured again and again and again. Such a vile rapist.

        • Morag

          Sounds like Fowley had a conception of hell that quite differs from yours. This is from an article written in 2013:

          ‘Fowley has been battling cancer for several years and doctors have given him an estimated 5 years to live. In fact, the ever present grim reaper of death is what provoked him to start writing his life’s story. He matter-of-factly claims that “Death is my next long term project” and boldly brags that he feels no fear. “I kind of look forward to being the doorman at Satan’s Beach House. I got the gig already. Think of all the dirty pussy in hell… I’d rather be there then [sic] in heaven, which is just going to have the Osmonds and the Carpenters.”’

          • Meghan Murphy

            Yeah death let him off the hook, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t believe in heaven and hell — wish I did, because surely he’d be burning.

          • The Real Cie

            A disgusting pig to the end. Although I feel badly for offending pigs with that statement.

      • Marisa Conover

        I agree with you. I too wish Ms. Fuchs would have pressed charges so Kim Fowley would have had his Constitutional Right to defend himself and have Legal Counsel cross examine Ms. Fuchs as well as the “eyewitnesses” in front of a Judge and Jury at Trial. I’m not really buying Ms. Fuchs’ account that she missed Fowley by weeks because he died. It was well publicized that the man was battling Cancer for a few years before his Death. She knew the clock was ticking so to speak…

        • Sarah

          Read the ground-breaking book I Never Called It Rape for a better understanding of why some survivors take a very long time to name their own victimization as rape and do something about it.

        • It’s fairly common for victims to not be able to do anything until their perpetrators die.

        • aneyewitness

          As being one of those bystanders the night the “alleged” rape took place, and knowing many people there, and around the Runaways camp. Fowley most assuredly raped Jackie Fox. She had also been pursuing Kim Fowley to account for his behavior. I don’t know which version of the stories you’ve been reading, but her statement has been made and she has multiple witnesses there to back the story up. Who cares when she decided to come out with her story? The important thing is she DID come out with it, and many women have been coming forward with their own stories of abuse from Fowley and some of his companions in rape. So Marissa don’t speak about something you don’t know bout because you weren’t there, I would of known it. It was a very small party…

      • Sylvia Black

        But we still have Bowie, Page, Iggy, Tyler…there is still time for some of these assholes.

        • Meghan Murphy

          AH. Yes, true.

        • FormerLurker

          I’m sure the statute of limitations has long since expired

  • Evelyn

    One of my feminist sociology profs was adamant that we are all always “negotiating with patriarchy” — men and women both, boys and girls, across race, class, and sexuality. The rule of the men on top is the superstructure within which we all dwell and try to act.
    You can have “agency” (the ability to make decisions in your own interest and on your own behalf) without having “power” (the ability to control events, determine the actions of others, and dictate the meaning.)
    Young girls within the Fowler rape culture had agency, but little to no power. Even within that limitation, and even considering the ignorance and immaturities of adolescence, they could still have good or fucked up priorities. That’s on them as individuals, even as young women. If Jett, Curie and Sandy were playing the situation in a particular way because they wanted to stay in the good graces of a powerful male in order to get and stay famous, that’s a few confused ignorant immature girls who has fucked up set of priorities, They had agency with little power.
    If within the rape culture, girls with personal agency but little power combined confusion, ignorance, and muddledness with plain mean-girlism and bullying, then you have a situation wherein they sold out and abandoned another girl to sexual violence.
    All that mad muddledness could definitely add up to a “bystander effect” in a room where a sixteen year old is getting raped and her “friends” stare and do nothing.
    Yet if as adults they continue to swear that “if they had known” they would have defended the girl they actually had hated, then they’re truly complicit in rape culture. Now they have agency AND power. Now they can own up. But if they don’t….they’re acting in bad faith.
    Yes, Fowley was the rapist.
    But as women, we need to ask ourselves and one another tough questions about girls’ and women’s participations in sexual violence. There’s more at stake here than the reputations of some celebrities. Whether on college campuses or in the military, many women do deny and minimize rape culture and blame and abandon victims. What’s that all about? How are women “negotiating with patriarchy,” jockeying for position within patriarchal structures by selling out other women? How can we stop it, and teach young girls and women to stop it?

    • How can we stop it? Well, when (middle class?) women started working in large numbers and having their own money, they founded rape crisis centres and shelters. That did change things a lot, otherwise we would not be able to have this conversation in the first place.

      My impression is that women step up and do the right thing the instant they’re in a position to. I don’t blame bystanders – generally perpetrator choose situations where they’re in charge and no one else can really do anything anyway.

      • Sarah

        I agree, but I see very clearly that each generation needs a ton of education and help to be able to recognize, resist and report sexual violence and exploitation. Without that, rape culture combines with teenage ignorance, competitiveness, clique-ishness and scapegoating to create some extremely ugly behavior even among bystanders, esp after an incident. Victims still get blamed and shunned. High schools are often hopeless in this regard, and colleges have to be pushed VERY hard to taken the issue seriously.

    • S.Law

      Saying that girls and women should stop ‘rape culture’ seems to be missing the point. Especially if you are not a willing participant or a bystander. If you reflect on violence (family violence in my case) to others (co-workers, siblings, friends) you are likely to get a few standard responses. 1) we don’t discuss ‘x’ in polite company, or it’s not professional to discuss ‘x’. 2) you mistook the person’s actions 3) said parent / boyfriend / spouse had a hard childhood / life and you should give them a pass … I have come to resent the assumption that I should do something about rape culture. I don’t even like rock music, haven’t gone to one rock concert, didn’t go to school dances in junior high or high school. When would I have seen these things. I have always found rock / pop / alt culture queasy making. I like to hear the stories of ‘real people’ (hence my preference for folk, traditional blues and even spirituals and gospel (though I am an atheist)) not the angst of overgrown teenagers. I find the assumption that women should solve the problem of violent abusive men (when we are ignored or criticized for speaking up) ludicrous. Sort of like a recent CBC story on campus rape where female students’ own behaviours were seen to result in a drop in sexual assaults. So, women and girls are still wholly responsible for their own safety?


      I think the tendency to go to the same well (for support, money) is why people burn out and leave the formal feminist movement. If men are causing the problem why aren’t they paying out of pocket to fix it? For the women’s shelters, and for the programs that support women in crisis.

      I never bought into the myth of the sexual revolution. I saw my sister pay dearly for her ‘sexual freedom’ (teen pregnancy, having to attend an alternative school program for unwed mothers (it was weird then, even weirder now), threats to be ‘disowned’ (not the terminology) by my histrionic father) while my brother got to install a live-in high school age girlfriend (or so it seemed) with very little objection from my parents. That revolution was never for women … if it was it would have emphasized things like female control of sexual situations, not giving up control.

      I found it hard to see the appeal of any of the pop/rock icons. They were unsavory people to me as a 12 year old and that didn’t change as I became a teen. I am not much for hero worship. The only people I admired as a young teen were women, the more eccentric the better (which is not to say that I tried to be eccentric, more keep your head down, have your quirky interests but keep them to yourself or the like minded) – Emily Carr, a few primatologists, Joan of Arc, the woman who the movie Tracks was based on, etc.

      People are turned into bystanders by the fact that they are never rewarded for sticking your head above the parapet and being a whistle blower. Or standing up for themselves as children in response to adult discipline. Which I did in grade 6 (when a known bully thought we could police my and my friend’s behaviour, goofy albeit, but not that disruptive) but received a detention for. Maybe I am too prideful but even to this day I don’t think that punishment was justified. Children are still seen as chattel by many adults and the legal system in most countries. What power do they have to stand up to adults – in the context of the law?

      • Sarah

        “Rape culture” is the dominant culture; it doesn’t exist just in rock music. If you’re interested in and committed to helping things get better now, you engage politically and intellectually. If you don’t, don’t. People burn out of all kinds of activisms all the time. They step back, sometimes permanently. Maybe people re-engage down the line, just differently. It’s an ebb and flow.

        People without power, children and adults, stand up to brutality all the time and let the chips fall. Sometimes their resistances are part of named political movements; many times not. There is actually seldom recognition or reward for it, and often they do it at a great price to themselves. We should not under-estimate or glamorize individual “heroics” or expect them. However, for feminists, female and male, many of us are committed to transforming and changing rape culture, and that doesn’t have anything to do with liking a particular kind of music or not.

        Understanding layers can help. The “bystander effect” is one understanding of what happened to that group of girls in that one circumstance. However, since apparently ALL the girls in that band except Fox were being sexually abused by their other, day-to-day manager, this is getting to look more like a thinly-veiled instance of on-going captivity and pimping for the other four band members. In those instances, girls get far more violated and traumatized. Fox’s horrifying experience may have been one incident for her, but for the other girls (and I actually am not excusing anything) this may have been just another — if especially grotesque — night on the road. Sexual violence and violation were pretty normalized for them.

        • S.Law

          I think rock / pop / alt musical genres and their following are different than the classical music genre that I was very into as a child and adolescent (played piano, sang in girls’ choirs) and still am. Maybe it is simply my hatred for electric guitar that made me reject rock music … actually no, it wasn’t. It is a musical genre that goes into my ears and stimulates nerves that cause nausea. I not a rock music rebel. Maybe a dork rebel. Because even my liking for classical music was criticized by my trashy father.

          I found the mostly male band members of rock music creepy. I found my childhood friend’s enthusiasm for a male pop singer amusing, but nothing I could really sympathize with. I don’t believe in fandom. Nothing about the genre appealed. And let’s face it, anyone can start a rock band, even the seemingly tone deaf. So, rock music attracts more predatory Svengali types who can prey on young women, and bring the focus on their jail bait image (the onstage clothing of the Runaways seemed dictated by Fowler). The possibility of making a ton of money in rock music was much more a reality than it was for anyone studying classical music. Orchestra musicians don’t make a lot of money or even a living wage (possibly only elite soloists and conductors). I think if you are an orchestra musician you must have a second job (teaching a local college) or a spouse with a good job or you must live hand to mouth. Even though classical music has been sexed up in contemporary times, it is still elite soloists who benefit from such sexing up, not run of the mill musicians. None of my music teachers growing up could be described as Svengali-like. Their only expression, if they had one, was pain if you hit a wrong note. Though our choir director told us we should sing from our bowels (deep down not through nose or throat). All my teachers were very professional, including the university student who taught me one year. Rock and related genres are very much associated with sex and drugs. Unless you were uber-talented (more than just a Julliard grad), like a one in five million or more talent, I find it hard to believe any predatory person would attach himself to you, as a classical music student/performer (at Kiwanis festivals???, where proud parents are in attendance). Unless in some countries becoming more serious about music means you have to leave home (and like minor hockey put yourself at mercy of possibly predatory adults). But I can’t see that.

          • Erin

            You’re all over the place here.

          • mysticSerpent

            “Unless you were uber-talented (more than just a Julliard grad), like a one in five million or more talent, I find it hard to believe any predatory person would attach himself to you, as a classical music student/performer (at Kiwanis festivals???, where proud parents are in attendance).”

            Are you sure of this? I would think a predator might latch onto a “nobody” and groom them to believe they could become a “star” in classical music so they could use them for sex, etc.?

            Predators are everywhere. Although I can see how it would be harder for them to operate when parents are close by.

          • Priscila

            I am a professional classical musician and have been abused more than once by adult male colleagues. Misogyny is everywhere. Male violence is everywhere.

  • I’m sorry. I’m with you in the fight against misogyny and machoism but you have many things wrong here.
    The girls there didn’t know Jackie was being raped. If you look for objective answers and more witnesses and you read the Lost Girls article carefully, You’ll know that that night Jackie looked like she wanted to have sex with Kim and that is why no one did anything. Jackie was raped. That is awful and we all have to fight against that. But there are no bystanders here, they were all victims. It’s also a crime to make an underage watch a sexual act. But the kids there didn’t know Jackie was being raped. after that night they were all grossed out by Jackie because they all thought she was the one who wanted to have sex with their creepy manager. Now Joan is being respectful and is wishing Jackie peace and healing and it’s recognizing it was terrible what happened to her. but she is being respectful not saying the incident as she knows it. What Joan and Cherie are saying each their own way is that to their knowledge at the time they didn’t watch a girl being raped.
    They were also traumatized by the situation, no guilt because they didn’t know she was being raped, just trauma and horror towards the fact.
    That is what I take from the HUffignton post article that is awfully manipulated and has an agenda, sadly the agenda is not the struggle against rapists. That article falls into everything is wrong with this patriarchal society.
    Go against the victims, not the rapist. which manipulated a situation so it looked like Jackie was having fun, while she was petrified inside.

    • Meghan Murphy

      What on earth are you talking about??? She very clearly did NOT want to have sex with Fowley. She was drugged and practically unconscious. The witnesses knew full-well she was raped. Your comment is disgusting and I can tell from the site you’ve linked here that your MO is to defend Jett from criticism. Perhaps you could defend Jett minus the rape-apologia.

    • Evelyn

      They saw an unconscious girl on a bed and a grown man performing sexual act on her. The unconscious girl wakes up. Thy all look at one another. No one moves.
      That they did not conceive of that as “rape,” as I said, in unsurprising. Even today, an unbelievable number of young people don’t understand what rape or consent are. But once again, to now claim “IF I had known, I would have stopped it” is silly. It’s wishful thinking. They are not nor were they ever the bad-asses they pretended to be. It was an act. For Currie, and for Jett, it seems like the act is still on.
      Real life is more complicated.
      The Huffpo article was pretty well-researched in the wake of the Rolling Stone false rape allegation story. There is some follow-up commentary the author made about how he went about it. There have been some complaints that it was graphic, but frankly, I think it needed to be, to get its points across about the intense trauma that evening caused both the victim and a few of the onlookers.

  • Jamie

    There is such a thing as being identified with the abuser. It’s a dynamic well-documented in trauma studies. Perpetrators groom their targets pretty carefully. If they can get more than one, they surround themselves with enablers and play them off one another. The victims end up kind of wanting to be powerful like the abuser is. They become enablers who become complicit in the continued environment of exploitation. They compete for the perp’s approval and actively suppress, scapegoat and/or shun victims who want to speak out or resist. This happens in families, in cults, and in other situations centered upon powerful exploitative people.
    If Curie and Jett were still hanging out with Fowley as adults, well, well into adulthood, right before he died, they certainly have never faced the enormity of his perversity. They were still identified with him. To guess that they may have been and maybe still are just twisted doesn’t back off from the fact that they too were victims back then. But come on….to be hanging out with the sicko as adults?! That’s just messed up.

  • Red

    One thing I take exception to is the bit about Cher. Sixteen was and is the age of consent in many states. I haven’t heard anything to indicate that Cher’s relationship with Sonny was abusive. I think that’s a far cry from Steven Tyler’s disturbing “Little Oral Annie” story. (Which does make me wonder whether “Janie’s Got a Gun” was just a publicity stunt…)

    • The Raddest

      “Age of consent” is bullshit. Sonny was TWENTY-SEVEN years old. Anyone who is 27 and wants to be with a 16-year-old is disgusting and rapey. How about phrasing your point as “sixteen was and is NOT the age of consent in many states.”? We don’t need to hold things up to the worst scenario of “Oral Annie” to realize that their relationship was also all colors of fucked up.

      • Red

        Actually, looking at a chart of US ages of consent, states with an 18-year age of consent are the minority compared to states with a 16-year age of consent. Can you please specify why you think this relationship was “all colors of fucked up” when Cher has never stated that it was and has never presented the relationship in an abusive light? An age gap does not necessarily make a relationship “rapey” if both parties are over a certain age. It does not seem that there was a strong power differential between Cher and Sonny.

        • Red

          Also, since Cher now has a history of dating much younger men who are also over the age of consent (Bagel Boy, anyone?), does that make her “rapey” too?

          • Red

            As a matter of fact, dating men her own age does not seem to be Cher’s strong suit, whether they’re older or younger. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2193266/As-Cher-66-prepares-marry-Hells-Angel-24-years-junior-bedded.html

            But to me, there is scant evidence of predation. I mean, this article started out being about Kim Fowley, an out-and-out rapist. I think drawing a parallel between that and any of Cher’s relationships is rather extreme.

          • Meghan Murphy

            My point is that, during that time and in the rock scene, predatorial behaviour and these huge age discrepancies was accepted and normalized despite the fact that it is not acceptable for grown men to date teenage girls.

          • Red

            Ok, but I’m not sure that was the best example to use.

          • Lisi

            Sorry, but it is not acceptable/okay/normal for a 27 year old man to date a 16 year old girl. The fact that they end up marrying does not make it less paedophilic and creepy.

          • Not at all; dating a younger adult is fine–as an adult, they know exactly what they’re getting into and have full mental agency to make their own decisions. Would you also say that Michael Douglas is rapey for marrying a woman 25 years his junior? Bagel Boy wasn’t an actual boy–that’s the difference.

          • Meghan Murphy

            This is perhaps not exactly a response to your point, but certainly do judge men who date much younger women (20+). I think it does often = abusive behaviour. Men who don’t want to date someone who is their equal (or however close they can get to ‘equal’ in a patriarchy) are controlling and very much attached to their male power/entitlement. I’m not saying it should be illegal, but I don’t have much respect for those kinds of men and, frankly, think they’re creeps and assholes.

          • Meghan, I understand what you’re saying and personally I agree; I was incredibly insulted when a friend tried to fix me up with someone 15 years older because the guy ‘wanted more kids.’ I felt like I was being considered for use as a trophy wife and a brood mare and it made my blood boil. I just disagreed with the comparison of Cher dating an adult male who happened to be younger than her to dating someone underaged.

  • copleycat

    Thank you Meghan for writing this. It’s hard to know what to think about it, yes Fowely played divide and conquer with them, and I can believe that at the actual moment when the rape was happening there was fear, doubt, possibly too many drugs on board for anyone to step up, and diffusion of responsibility, all coming into play, but the way Jackie was treated after the fact – for years – well that’s a little less easy to look at not feel disappointed. You can see a fair amount of that if you watch the documentary Edgeplay, none the romanticized BS of the Runaways movie. All that said, in this particular instance I don’t know that there can be an assertion that it’s a case of women not sticking together due to tragic accomodations to patriarchy – or it’s not only that, Fowely was dangling fame in front of them and plenty of men eagerly screw each other over for that.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. I mean, as upsetting as it is, I do understand why people may not have intervened in the moment… It’s the rest of the fawning all over Fowley, denial, rape-apologia, I am having a hard time forgiving… I had not heard of Edgeplay — will look it up, thanks.

  • Marisa Conover

    Hi Meghan – I see that you feel very strongly about adult male rock stars having sex with underage girls. A minor can NOT consent to sex with an adult in the State of California and is defined under the Law as Rape, even if consensual. With that said and while Jackie Fuchs was in The Runaways and a minor at the time, she brags in this fairly recent clip about her sexual encounter with adult Randy Rhoads of Quiet Riot on a backstage bathroom floor while his bandmates watched. If Ms. Fuchs is going to “out” Kim Fowley as a “Rapist” with Joan Jett/Cherie Currie as “bystanders” who did nothing, is she going to “out” Randy Rhoads a “Rapist” and his bandmates who were “bystanders” as well?….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIzf80lkq2A&feature=youtu.be

    • The Raddest

      Well, Quiet Riot had opened for the runaways, so maybe there was some sort of power differential in Jackie’s favor in that specific moment. They also said they hadn’t “seen jackie too much after that show.” It seems this wasn’t the traumatizing experience of being drugged and raped by Fowley, and maybe since she has that experience to compare everything else to, she doesn’t remember this quiet riot experience as “as bad as that.”

      • Marisa Conover

        In the State of California, a minor can NOT consent to sex with an adult and is defined as Rape under the Law, even if it was consensual. Ms. Fuchs has stated publicly that ALL Rapists need to be held accountable and Randy Rhoads should be no exception as he was an adult at the time. If she is going to present herself as an advocate for Rape Victims then she should set the example. Unless she “outs” all of the adult men who had sex with her when she was a minor and is defined as Rape under the Law, then she appears to be singling out Kim Fowley in a vindictive manner because of the long history of acrimony with regard to The Runaways.

    • Sarah

      You know, you’re pretty sick and sad with this attempt at “slut-shaming.” I don’t know about this incident or the very carefully edited clip put up on youtube so recently for the obvious purposes of slut-shaming, but the agenda is clear. It’s a deeply vicious, cheap, misogynist move.
      Whatever ANY survivor’s personal history before or after a rape, if a person is drugged, and some one has sex with her, or him, it was rape.

      • lcat

        Whoever this Marisa Conover is, she sure has an ax to grind on this topic. Every single article and FB post EVERYWHERE has Marisa Conover posting her drivel.

        Ms. Conover, please educate yourself!

    • ArgleBargle

      Marisa, the video has no date and no indication where the clip came from. It’s possible this incident happened when Jackie Fuchs was 18+.

      Jackie and Randy had a 3 year, 2 week age difference. Under California law, if the encounter was consensual, as Jackie indicates it was, and happened when Jackie was 16, Randy could have been charged with a misdemeanor, which, justice. Randy initiated the encounter in a private place – it became public when they were spied upon. The spying pervs deserve a slap upside the head, and, if Jackie chose to report it, whatever penalty the law saw fit.

      However, I fail to see how this encounter in any way comes close to the horror story of the encounter with Kim:

      Kim Fowley was 20 years older than Jackie. According to Jackie and witnesses who back up her account: 16 year old Jackie was drugged with enough Quaaludes to have been incapable of consenting to “sex” with Kim. She lies down on a bed to recover, in a room full of people. Kim then jumps on top of her and rapes her, pausing every so often to strut around the room and play to the crowd.

      What is your point? If Jackie chooses not to call out Randy for the bathroom encounter, does that make what Kim did to her OK?

    • Priscila

      We also “feel very strongly” about disgusting victim-blaming and normalization of abuse like you’re doing. If you have problems with the “strong feelings” of women fighting for justice, get out of here.

    • Lisi

      What is your point? In one situations, she was drugged senseless and then raped. She was a willing participant in the other. Are you saying she cannot complain about being raped because she once had consensual sex with somebody?

  • Ermalinda

    Bebe Buell??? She didn’t even lose her virginity till she was 19 and didn’t start dating Rockstars till she was in her 20’s. She was close to 30 when she was dating a lot of rock stars… Sooooo…. How is that at all relevant to this?

    • Delilah

      Presumably because she was witness to many of these type “events” and recounted them in her memoirs. When Jimmy Page grew tired of Lori Maddox, he dropped her like a hot potato for Buell. And of course Buell and Tyler created Liv.

  • Red

    Well, after reading the whole HuffPost piece, it seems like Fowley was sort of almost an American version of Jimmy Savile–I say “almost” because Savile had a much greater level of recognition and power in his home country, and was also into things like necrophilia, which seems to have been out of Fowler’s grasp. Everyone in the perpetrator’s orbit knew, but nobody told. I wonder if more will come to light in the wake of that article?

    • Dee Wes

      THANK You! for saying this I have posted a few times about exactly what Kim was .. being the american Saville of the 70s.

  • Red

    Well, this is interesting. This is an excerpt from a 2010 interview that Cherie Currie did for Spin magazine.

    “Q: What did you include in this new version of the book that you couldn’t in the original?
    A: I named names. For example, the story where [Runaways manager/producer] Kim Fowley held a sex education class for us was a little more than the publishers could stomach at the time.

    “Q: In that scene, Kim has sex with a woman in front of the band in order to, as you recall, “teach you dogs how to fuck.” You seem to remember him as a nasty guy but Joan Jett calls him a “close friend.” Does it bother you that she likes him?
    A: No. It’s like battered-wife syndrome. Some women love the abusive men they’re with and that’s kind of the way I was with Kim. I really wanted his approval. And he apologized to me on the phone a year ago, saying if he had to do it over again he wouldn’t have treated us that way.He didn’t know how to handle 15-year-old girls.In his own crazy way, he loved us.”

    Gives an insight into the bandmates’ mindset, both at that time and in the present, I think.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Ew! Totally and completely like being in an abusive relationship. The comparison to battered wife syndrome is apt.

  • Sarah

    Did the last 40 years never happen for some people? Research about sexual violence and how to help survivors has moved way forward since 1975. I remember the ground-breaking book I Never Called It Rape and then, later. Tori Amos helping to create RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network), as just two examples. We still need more, but, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel about everything here/
    Even if Fox had been able to confront Fowley personally – that approach is a bit overrated. It’s from TV, and then it was big in the 90s to “confront the perpetrator.” Often survivors just get re-traumatized. The perp once again turns everything back on the survivor, or denies/minimizes, or blows it off, or says all the “right things” in a meaningless way. Bystanders or enablers, family members or old frenemies can once again turn on the survivor.
    If you confront your perp, you’re also pressuring one, just one interaction to somehow put things into place for you and help you. That’s handing WAY too much power over to the interaction and the perp all over again. I wouldn’t do it outside a courtroom, anyway, or without the backing of some structural justice.
    Better to find and speak and own the truth of your own experiences within supportive, hopefully informed communities. If you have to build those along the way, so be it. But also, there are tons of resources out there! Let’s not forget them.

    • Red

      Well, if you can confront the perp with a Taser, a blackjack, or a blunt object to the crotch…no, not realistic in all situations, but certainly ideal.

      (Not that this would have been the right decision for Jackie in particular, just a thought.)

  • I read that article too, and it made me wonder what it’s like today to be starting out in the performing arts, where you depend on others to open doors, and what kind of pressure young women (and men) are under. Things are probably less openly abusive, but is the abuse gone? A lot less? Or is there still lots of room for predators to do their thing?

    • copleycat

      Sadly I’d say there’s still room for predators. Every gate keeper position in any feild offers the kind of opportunities predators relish and our whole culture is set up to ensure that people who are good at detaching from any empathy they may have for others are the people most apt to advance.

    • S.Law

      I have often wondered why no one in Hollywood has the guts to make a documentary or fictional film about the abusive treatment of children in the entertainment industry, historically and in the present day. They can make movies about institutional abuse in other contexts (e.g. Catholic Church, educational system, justice system). The abuse in the case of the Runaways and Hollywood was various. Exposure to drugs and alcohol, sexual abuse, emotional & psychological abuse, physical abuse even. I remember a woman who became a Hollywood producer (she wrote a book called “They can kill you but they can’t eat you: Lessons from the front”) writing about one actor (later revealed to be Arnold Schwarzenegger) who constantly molested/fondled women of all types on the set, including actresses and producers. What happens to children? I know in California there are greater protections and safeguards now. But there are a lot of reality tv shows featuring children in a variety of states, where there are no protections for children (hours of work, conditions of work, etc.)


      You hear about the disastrous lives of former child actors/performers. I sometimes think that one should simply stop watching shows/movies featuring children. I already hate reality tv so there is no temptation to watch it. These children and they were in many ways still children were being exploited by an adult for monetary gain and for more salacious reasons. I think that adults that suffered as child performers should be supported but I would like to see that this kind of thing is prevented in the first place.

      • I reached the point of not being ok with children working in showbiz (acting, music, modelling, dance) the summer Amanda Bynes and Justin Bieber went off the rails. Even if there’s no abuse, working enough to earn a living is just too hard on kids.

        As for why they don’t document it? I think it’s the same reason Hollywood is unable to be honest about prostitution. Because they’re part of the problem. At least we don’t have studios putting B-listers to work in brothels when they aren’t busy on set anymore. Prostitution still happens, but it’s independently organized now. I’m sure plenty of people are aware of who the predators are, but don’t have the clout to get rid of them. Abuse is entrenched, and always has been.

      • ArgleBargle

        Amy Berg has a documentary playing right now, in limited release, called An Open Secret. It covers the sexual abuse of boys in Hollywood by adult male producers and managers. I haven’t been able to see the full documentary yet, but the reviews are good and the trailer is promising. She had a hard time finding distributors for it, but it is finally being shown. Hoping it will be available to purchase online soon.


    • Honestly, I don’t think anything has changed. (I lived in Hollyweird, btw.) If you’re a woman, you have to be young and pretty in order to make it. And if you ARE young and pretty, you have to be ready to sleep your way to the top or the men running the industry won’t let you succeed. It may not be admitted to publicly anymore, but it’s the way the entertainment industry has worked, probably from the beginning. Nothing’s changed. We just have the illusion of change in the form of politically correct speech.

      No one exposes it for the same reason Bill Cosby’s victims were afraid to come forward: everyone’s hoping to “make it” in the industry. You go against those men and try to hold them accountable and they’ll ruin you.

      The media has a huge influence over the American psyche. Think of all the people who had trouble believing Cosby raped women because of a character he played on TV. His imaginary TV character was a nice guy, so how could Cosby, the actor, not be a nice guy? It sounds silly but a lot of otherwise intelligent people have trouble differentiating the media version of a person from the real person. So you go against Hollywood/the entertainment industry by exposing the exploitation of women and children and Hollywood uses its influence to create propaganda that portrays you as the bad guy and them as the good guys. And, sadly, the general public will believe it.

      And, how would you fund a documentary that exposes Hollywood? I mean, the people who typically fund films probably won’t fund yours since you’re attacking their livelihood.

  • S.Law

    The 1970s cannot be represented by kitschy tv shows … it was a transitional time, for a number of reasons. Girls were still required to take home economics in junior high. In fact my school had a tradition of having tea and inviting an adult, usually a favorite teacher. But it was also the era of another kind of grunge (jeans worn to school, an informal uniform), changing sexual mores (access to birth control for teens), and the rude t-shirt (people were asked to go home and change, if the wording was explicit or the images were (naked posteriors, representing ski bums, in my home town near the mountains). But parents from this era were from a very different time (born on the cusp of the great depression, very conservative in some ways but also interested in recycling, re-using/conserving (of re-fillable generic shampoo containers)). Our parents were influenced by their own childhoods in which they could be worked until point of injury, in my father’s case until he developed a hernia at age 9 (which was not operated on until his late 20s). He recalls stomping away from a neighbors farm (who he was expected to help without remuneration) and collapsing in a ditch because the farmer would not give him a ride home. Adults really were not that concerned with the welfare of other people’s children or their own, for that matter. We were free to roam and get injured. These are the people who raised us.

    The only thing that was really monitored in my household was tv watching. Not smoking, or drinking … which was permitted because it was considered to be controllable if done in the family home. Bizarre logic. I think children were considered chattel in my parent’s generation and they had more than a remnant of that attitude re: my siblings and I. Ostensibly we had family meetings to discuss things but the real elephant in the room was never discussed (my father’s alcoholism). Blaming Joan Jett et al. for not standing up to the adults seems a little ass backwards. The adults shouldn’t have been sexually assaulting minors in the first place. I am trying to imagine the conversation that Joan Jett or other band members would have had with the police … or their parents (did they have trusting, open relationships with their parents, were they even living at home). Would they have been believed? Maybe they could have physically overcome the person doing the assaulting however parents/adults were seen as more powerful and assaulting them would probably have garnered the teen girls an arrest or some kind of punishment. I still remember a bike safety film from late childhood (around grade 6) that depicted the children as monkeys (not even human) who got injured or killed because they would not follow basic road safety. The attitude of the script writers was that if you didn’t watch out for yourself, it wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility to do so (including the guy driving the steam roller). I think that attitude was also prevalent in society. So if a person didn’t watch out for herself (which is an impossibility, I know, given her smaller size, lesser maturity, naivete, and possibly inebriated state) no one else would necessarily do so. Blaming the victim was very common. I think that applying today’s values to people 40 years ago is a bit odd. We can condemn slavery and its worst actors without condemning everyone from the 1800s, especially those working to end slavery (but would their rationale for ending it (i.e. morally wrong according to scripture, which was belief of some abolitionists, no consideration of personhood of slave) be acceptable to someone born in the latter part of the 20th century, probably not). I am still angry that my siblings won’t hold my father to account and that they behaved badly during family therapy sessions (well the only one my father agreed to attend) during which I was scapegoated for our family’s problems. And I was the compliant one, not drinking, not smoking, not having sex, not having unsanctioned parties, not running away from home, not stealing, doing my chores, attending school but yes, a bit of day dreamer. If I want a relationship with my adult siblings (which often I don’t) I have to put aside this desire for them to actually be honest (about their own pasts, good luck on that, they don’t even acknowledge they did any of this, they simply can’t remember their lives prior to age 18). Won’t happen. And they will continue to make excuses for my father because they have a will to power and as such they have always aligned themselves with the more powerful (or those they perceive to have more power).

    • Meghan Murphy

      I agree that “blaming Joan Jett et al. for not standing up to the adults seems a little ass backwards.” But why would she continue to deny it now? And certainly there were many adult men around Fowley who knew exactly what he was up to who did and said nothing…

      • I think in order to succeed she and many others had to put up walls of denial, and they don’t come down easily, because you learn not to see them. (Seeing them may make it impossible to work – see betrayal trauma theory.) She may come around over time, but it may take her a while to switch to another perspective.

        • ArgleBargle

          In 2000 Jackie wrote about Cheri Currie’s plan to update her book Neon Angels with a new chapter, including an account of Kim Fowley drugging and raping a teenage girl while the other bandmates were forced to watch. Cheri claimed that the other band mates just sat around and watched this, and that Jackie, after watching the rape, actually asked if anyone had any hamburgers, cause she was hungry. Understandably, Jackie was pretty pissed and got her lawyers on the case to keep this story from going in the book. Can you imagine being raped and then having the story told as if you were just as a indifferent bystander?


          I think this was Cheri’s way of trying to revisit something she saw, but buried….it was still there gnawing at her and had to come out some way.

          Now, on her Facebook, Cheri is using Jackie’s attempt to have this incident kept out of the book as some kind of proof that Jackie’s version of events is false. Not good.

          None of this, however, makes Kim Fowley any less of a predatory rapist.

  • nechakotess

    If you think that it is not happening in this day and age check out the Gian Gomeshi scandal in Canada and what he imposed – from a position of highly respected pro woman cultural commentator for the CBC – on interns and others hoping to break into the business.

  • Lisi

    When I read Jason Cherkis’s article on Fuchs, my first thought was, “This is what liberal feminism created”. I was a teenager in the 1970s. “Feminism” was all about sexual empowerment, having many sexual partners and losing your virginity as quickly as possible. If you didn’t, people wondered what was wrong with you, and you were ‘uptight’ or ‘frigid’. Sexually women were acting as though they were equal, even when they weren’t. Sex was supposed to be ‘liberating’. And men were loving it.

    • Lisi

      I also believe that, whilst Jett and Currie were not responsible as 16 year old girls for keeping quiet, they are grown women now. They’ve had plenty of time to digest what happened and work through the issues. They have matured and are now fully grown adults. That they don’t acknowledge it is disgusting and an insult to Fuchs. Fuchs shows enormous grace and class by not displaying animus towards Jett and Currie. She is willing to forgive and excuse their behaviour, putting it down to the bystander effect. Well, they’ve had time to work through the ‘bystander effect’ and should now come clean. I’ve gone right off Joan Jett, whom I once admired.

    • Meghan Murphy
  • Rob

    Oh holy crap.

    I just found out that Iggy Pop even boasted about having sex with Sable when she was 13.

    First lyric in this song:


    “I slept with Sable when she was 13”

    I am so dissapointed and angry

    • Meghan Murphy


    • And check out the comments beneath the vid. Sable was a whore he shared with his friend! Sable was my role model! Um OK, is everyone ignoring the statement of her age in the first line of the song? That’s enough YouTube for me today…

  • I, like you, was genuinely upset after reading this article. I’ve known for a long time that Fowley was a sleazebag, and was sadly unsurprised (although, of course, totally repulsed and enraged) by his actions, but Joan Jett stands among my idols–not just in terms of her music, but in regards to her high level of social and political involvement. A few years ago, for example, she took extraordinary efforts to help find the man who raped and murdered Gits singer Mia Zapata, and made a cathartic anti-rape music video called “Go Home.”

    After perusing the Huffington Post piece, I’ve never wanted to “unread” an article so much in my life; and I literally thought the words, “Say it ain’t so, Joan.”

  • Erin

    Fox stated that she herself had kept in intermittent contact with Fowley to prove that she was over it, she was cool, they could still talk. Curie had stated in interviews that her relationship with Fowley was like that of a battered wife. Both Jett and Curie were in contact with Fowley towards the end of his life.
    Part of bonding to and identifying with the perpetrator is continuing contact in order to deny one’s own degradation. “See, I’m cool, I’m cool.”
    Whether or not that’s what Curie and Jett are doing, I would not look for any affirmation or acknowledgment from Jett. She’s protecting her image and career. She wants continued fame and respect. Curie probably, as well.
    Watch what people DO, and don’t do. People vote with their feet. When people are still, still in contact with some one they know as an abuser, they’re allied mostly to their own system of denial and minimization. They want to keep up whatever stories they’ve woven about themselves, and that person, and the whole deal, even to the point of betraying and abandoning other victims, even years later. That it’s all part of a psychodynamic process about trauma doesn’t erase the fact that it’s staggeringly self-serving behavior.
    So be wise about people like that. Don’t wait for their validations.

  • Pru

    Before anyone forms opinions about what the dynamics of the band were, find a way to watch “Edge-play,” the documentary about the band made by former members. All are in it but Joan Jett.
    These girls basically hated one another. They weren’t friends who got together and made a band; they were a bunch of girls brought together mostly by Fowley for a business venture. Fowley is at least right about that. Even in the doc, when most of them must have been at least well into their thirties/forties, they’re talking s– about one another and calling names, including Fuchs. Between the girls there was competition (which he stoked), there were shifting alliances and massive personality problems and also unfortunately normal teenaged viciousness. There were band members sleeping with other band members, there was management sexually abusing band members. Curie and Fuchs were antagonists, but Curie stopped Fuch’s attempted suicide. Then she turns around and viciously back-bites. Fuchs has to take a BUS to the airport to leave. Jett was the so-called peacemaker. Some members wanted a career and others were not so sure. Some wanted hard rock, others wanted glam.
    My point is that you throw drugs and sexual predation into that mix, you’ve got a situation set up for “the by-stander effect” in some of their cases and simply being inured to sexual violence and abuse in others — and in some people, both.
    I think Jackie Fuchs has been great to name abuse and rape as abuse and rape and try to move the public conversation about those things forward, but getting invested in who “should have” or “would have” don what in this particular instance is probably a waste of time.

    • Joan Jett seemed to be against the movie, wouldn’t allow songs or pictures she had rights to to be used in the film and the film implies that a rape took place, if I’m remembering correctly. That makes me wonder whether Jett knows about the rape but actively tried to prevent any revelation of it.

      Very strange behavior. How can a woman not defend another woman–especially a band member–who was victimized like that? I can see her not knowing what to do as a teenager, but Jett is an adult now… So… why?

      I also wonder whether possibly Jett and Curie were on drugs or alcohol themselves so maybe they don’t clearly remember the incident either.

  • corvid

    Meghan, thank you so much for bringing up this subject. I was brought up listening to punk rock and always had serious cognitive dissonance around some of what I was hearing. Recently I read a review of a semi-autobiographical book by Richard Hell that came out some time ago, and was treated to a graphic excerpt featuring him “having sex with” a 14-year-old girl. I can recall, at a young age, listening to Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys singing about a “cherry runaway” “performing on leopardskin sheets” and “used up before your sweet 16”, or elsewhere “look at me that way bitch, your face is gonna get a punch” about a woman rejecting his overtures of “getting into your pants.” I mean there are so many examples of grown men singing about “sweet little girls”, it’s a cliche. Sooner or later, female fans of rock, punk and metal find ourselves surrounded by the inescapable fact of this culture being saturated by porn, male entitlement and a disregard for women’s lives. The cliche of the rock god is a man who does anything and everything he wants to do, and treats women like disposable things.

    • Yes, and my question is why do some men feel this need to hold power over women and to treat us like objects. It’s a question that I think needs to be explored. Is it a result of growing up watching ads that portray women as sex objects or some sort of insecurity some men have about their own masculinity or what little power they have over their own lives?

  • po

    The bit about David Bowie and Lori Maddox is completely false. She lost her virginty to Jimmy Page in June 1972 at the age of 13. There is evidence to support this in the form of photos of them together and eyewitness testimonies. There is also, of course statements from Lori Maddox. This occured in June 1972 if you bothered to check the available facts you would find that David Bowie was on tour in the UK in June 1972 and had only been to Los Angeles once on a promotional visit in 1971 and did not return to Los Angeles until his Ziggy tour stopped there in October 1972. Maybe its about time people started fact checking stories. Now wouldn’t that be great!!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Lori Maddox has discussed it, though… See, 11:24ish https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnViqstGsYs

      • Po

        She is lying! She met and slept with Page in June1972 at age 13 and there is so much evidence to support that as I have stated, she was a virgin at that point. The proof that she is lying about Bowie is the FACT that the concert she says she went to after Bowie ‘took her virginity’ took place in March 1973. How can she claim that she met Page AFTER David Bowie when there is so much evidence, including photographic evidence of her with Page in 1972?? As I have said already there is not one single photo of her with Bowie or eyewitness statements or even contemporary gossip about them. All we have is Maddox herself making this claim and she is clearly lying. Look at all the photographs of her with Page and Led Zeppelin on the web dated 1972. Led Zeppelin’s roadies, hangerson etc have all talked about Page and Maddox being together and also Pamela DesBarres, who Page ditched in June 1972 to be with Maddox! I find it amazing that Maddox can blatantly lie like that and even more amazing (and depressing) that people cannot be bothered to fact check these groupie stories. Unless there is overwhelming evidence that a story is true you should take some of these tales with a large pinch of salt and always check the tour schedule of the rockstar they claimed to have slept with at any given time because these old tour schedules will always be detailed and accurate. You can find the old tour schedules for Bowie and Led Zeppelin on vars fansites

        • Meghan Murphy

          You seem to believe you are uncovering some grand JFK-style conspiracy, Po. I really don’t care about these dates or about Bowie or Zeppelin’s tour schedules. There is no reason for Maddox to lie, it’s not like she’s getting anything out of her Bowie story. If she were taking Bowie to court over this then it would matter that she get the exact date right. But you are missing the point in favour of obsessing over something no one really cares about but you. Either way, nothing you say disproves the larger point about adult men in rock preying on much younger women and girls.

          • Po

            You have stated in your blog that Bowie groomed and took Maddox’s virginity as a fact when there is no evidence to prove it other than what Maddox says and as I said her claim can be easily proven to be false. You are very naive to think that these groupies wouldn’t lie about sleeping with some of the biggest names in rock music!!! These women want the attention and the fame from all of this and that’s what Maddox has had. This subject is important but you need to rely on FACTS to support it not lies. I wouldn’t trust Maddox to tell me the right time to be honest! The video I talked about yesterday is on Youtube and is listed under ‘Jimmy Page and Lori Mattix’. Her real name is Mattix. Watch it very carefully because she does say she lost her virginity to Page and she also lies about when she met him by saying she met him in 1973. I am going to point out the facts about all of this because they’re important even if you don’ t think they are!

          • Ella

            I’m inclined to agree with Po on this. Lori Maddox does give contradictory details about herself and if there is nothing to support her claim then you should remove the bit about Bowie from your blog. Relying on dubious claims does undermine your credibility and your argument.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I really don’t care. And no, the date upon which Bowie had sex with underage Maddox has no impact on my argument. You have read the piece and understand that it is not about Bowie and his tour dates, yes? It is about Jackie Fuchs’ rape and the larger issue of men in rock sexually assaulting women and preying on minors. Please move on.

  • po

    I forgot to add that you will not find even one photograph of Bowie with Lori Maddox or Sable Starr, the other groupie he was supposed to have slept with nor will you find any independent eye witness testimony saying that they saw Bowie with these groupies and that they know he slept with them unlike Page. There is a video of Maddo on You Tube (I can’t link because I am on my mobile phone) where she pretty much says that she lost her virginity to Page but then stops herself for some reason . Why? It’s all very weird but it must must even weirder for Bowie being talked about like this for something he did n’t do!! I’ll say it again there is no evidence to link Bowie with Maddox (or Starr). You should not believe anything about groupies and rockstars unless there is clear evidence to back up these stories because a lot of them are just stories and nothing more than that.

  • po

    I’m sorry this is hard to do on my old phone! But to just add that I am obviously a Bowie fan and female and when I first heard about the Lori Maddox thing I was shocked but then I thought well is this story true and did some digging around on the internet, checking Bowie’s tour dates, checking Led Zeppelins tour dates and trying to find any evidence. I have found nothing to support this story. All the evidence I have seen points to Jimmy Page. I’m not saying Bowie didn’t go with any groupies, he no doubt did but the charge against him that he slept with underage girls like Maddox and Starr is not supported by any evidence, not even by any contemporary gossip of the time. With a subject like this you have to be sure about your accusations and have the evidence to back it up. This is a serious issue and can’t just repeat unsubstantiated stories about someone and pass it off as fact! Have you guys forgotton about the Rollingstone rape story mess already?! I’ll shut up now! Bye

    • Ellesar

      I am also a Bowie fan, but I think that anyone who believes that MOST men wouldn’t have sex with 14 & 15yos is naive at best!

      John Peel, one of the ‘nicest’ men who was great friends with Marc Bolan at one point boasted about fucking a 15yo when he was about 25. In my experience men are very proud of their conquests of underage girls (and boys).

      • Delilah

        The whole “underage girl” was such a “thing” in the 70s, when I was a teen. And probably always in Rock and roll if you go back to Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis.

    • A lot of info from that time period isn’t on the Internet. Not everything is on the Internet, by the way. Lots of things happen to celebrities that are kept secret and may not have been gossiped about but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

      BTW, I like Bowie’s music too, but I don’t know him personally. One can be a talented musician, singer and songwriter but as a person not such a nice guy. One can also be a nice guy who made some mistakes in his past. Bowie had a drug problem and I’m sure made a lot of mistakes during that period of his life.

  • Po

    Sorry what I meant to say is that you find thetour schedules for big names like Bowie and Led Zeppelin covering their entire careers on various fan sites. This information is so easy to find and reliable and accurate unlike some of these groupies. You can work out which story is true and the ones that aren’t simply by checking the story against the tour schedule. When Page was sleeping with Maddox in June 1972 and was the guy who took her virginity Bowie was in the UK touring and no one can dispute that, especially Lori Maddox! I mean in this post you have a photo of Maddox dated from 1972 with some of Led Zeppelins’s roadies, don’t you even know that??

  • Meh

    Fantastic article, Meghan. I assumed that this was going on, but it still shocked me when I read it.

    Fowley was a pervert. I remember reading about his desire to be in ‘Girls with Corpses’ after his death. GWC is basically a magazine that has porny women in various poses with corpses. If this doesn’t indicate how absolutely fucking disturbed this piece of shit was, then nothing will.

    We all need to be loud when we talk about the monsters that are still alive. Rock gods my fucking arse.

  • The Real Cie

    Sadly, a lot of women seem to turn against the victims of crimes such as rape and physical assault if they find the offender appealing. When Rihanna was beaten by Chris Brown, numerous women said dreadful things about her and stuck up for Chris, saying such disturbing things as “Chris is hot! I wouldn’t care if he beat me.”
    I’m horrified to read about what happened to Jackie Fuchs. I can understand what it must have been like for her band mates, not knowing what to do. I wish that Joan Jett would admit this rather than trying to pretend she wasn’t there.
    Does it really make these guys feel more like “men” to get with these young girls? One would think that a real man would want to be with a mature woman. Sadly, a lot of men don’t want an equal partner, they want a fuck toy who will shut up and kowtow to them. A mature, confident woman won’t do that.

  • This abuse of women and young girls isn’t a 70s phenomenon but continues in the entertainment industry to this day. It’s not something from the past. Today, it’s all about “18-to-look-younger” in Hollywood. Most of the models we see in magazines are teenagers. Women’s bodies are constantly being used to sell products, and the message men receive is that women are commodities, not people. To be a woman “over 30” is to be ancient in Hollywood. It’s harder to get away with raping, controlling and abusing an adult as opposed to a teenager. So… rapists like the young girls better. And let’s admit it–there are a lot of Bill Cosbys and Kim Fowleys in the entertainment industry. A lot.

    But everyone’s looking out for him/herself these days. Personally, I think the only thing that would get Joan Jett to admit to what she saw would be for her to believe it would help her career in some way. Sadly, that’s the only thing that motivates some people. There’s a larger problem here of people worshiping those who have money and power and being afraid to speak out against any wrongdoing–lest their careers be ruined. Well… my career’s already been ruined (‘cuz I’m not 18-to-look younger, you see) so I’ll say something right here. I’m tired of “who you know” being more important than what you know. I’m tired of the aristocracy that, in my opinion, is the real problem. We all know that kissing up to those in power is how to succeed. So we can’t speak truth to power. We have to just bite our tongues (if they haven’t been bitten already) and go along to get along…

    Why does this aristocracy exist? Could Joan Jett, Lita Ford, etc., have succeed without Kim Fowley? If not, then we need to ask why that is… Because THAT is the real problem. Had they been over 21, they would have been “too old” to join the band and wouldn’t have had a chance without the “help” of that man/rapist.
    Like I said, that is the real problem and the reason why this rape culture continues to exist and probably always will as long as the aristocracy continues to run things.

    But to think this way, to think about how our society has created a rape culture implicates all of us. Uh oh.

    So never mind… Forget everything I just said.

  • Sarah

    I agree with Po. Lori does provide numerous contradictory statements. But the fact that Bowie could just “hop on an airplane” isn’t true. At the time, Bowie was terrified of going on airplanes, and only traveling by boat. And during this period David Bowie was pretty much flat broke, he couldn’t have just gotten on a boat as well too. David Bowie wouldn’t have gone somewhere where he didn’t have any money or any gig to even be there. Sorry to being very late, just wanted to add to the discussion. Not that it matters anymore, this happened over 40 years ago and no matter what, neither you or I can change anything.

  • shane

    A “sisterhood” would never stay silent after watching one of their sisters being violated. We have a responsibility as ethical human beings to report violent crime.

    I am sickened that pig, Kim Fowley, never paid for his crimes. He never paid for those crimes because nobody came forward until after he was dead. It’s a travesty that he never paid for his actions.

    The rapist is the only one responsible for the violence. But, EVERYONE that stayed silent after his violent act is at least partially responsible for the fact that justice will never be served.