SweetNSour Magazine

Rhye’s Michael Milosh Sued by Ex-Wife for Sexual Battery, Gender Violence, and More

Note: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual battery and gender violence.

Alexa Nikolas is suing her ex-husband, Michael Milosh of Rhye, for sexual battery, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act. She is suing for unspecified damages, as also reported by TMZ and The A.V. Club.

Nikolas is suing Milosh for sexual battery because, she and her lawyers allege, “Milosh intentionally, recklessly, and wantonly made sexual advances, solicitations, requests, and demands for sexual compliance of a hostile nature based on [Nikolas’] gender that were unwelcome, pervasive, and severe.”

Nikolas also claims that, while she was a minor, Milosh made “sexually inappropriate comments to [her],” requested her “to expose herself to [him],” requested her “to send explicit photos of herself,” solicited “to meet with [her] to satisfy his sexual desires,” and shared “nude photographs of other women to [her].”

Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for Michael Milosh.

In her lawsuit, obtained by Pitchfork, Alexa Nikolas alleges that Michael Milosh “preyed on the innocence of a minor fan to manipulate and coerce her into succumbing to his repeated sexual assaults of her.” She and her lawyers also write: “Milosh utilized his power of authority and seniority over [Nikolas], as well as years of sexual grooming of [Nikolas] as a minor child, to manipulate her into trusting him. Upon gaining her trust, Defendant Milosh terrorized, sodomized, and abused [Nikolas] as a part of his continuous conduct aimed at satisfying his prurient and economic desires.”

The allegations in the lawsuit largely align with allegations that Nikolas made in an open letter called “Groomed by the Groom.” In the letter, Nikolas claimed she began talking to Milosh when she was 16 and he was 33—an assertion she previously made in a 2018 interview with Verse.

The lawsuit reiterates the allegation that Nikolas and Milosh first made contact when she was 16 years old and he was 33. At that age, in 2008, Nikolas allegedly “reached out to Milosh via his Myspace page, complimenting his music, and commenting that she would like to see him perform the next time he was in Los Angeles.” Milosh responded and the two ended up speaking on the phone for more than an hour, according to the lawsuit.

“For almost two years, Nikolas and Milosh conversed via phone, text message, and Skype video chat,” the lawsuit states. During that time, while Nikolas was a minor, Milosh “repeatedly [asked] to see [Nikolas] in person, take photographs of her, and [requested] she send explicit photographs of herself to him,” according to the lawsuit. “Nikolas acquiesced,” the lawsuit says, “undressing herself and revealing her naked body to him numerous times.”

According to the lawsuit, Nikolas and Milosh first met in person when Nikolas was 18 and after “Milosh groomed and coerced Nikolas to believe she was in love, that he loved her, and that they had a genuine connection and consensual relationship.” She claims that, at their first meeting, “Milosh began pressuring [her] to take off her clothes,” and also “supplied [her] with excessive alcohol to easily manipulate her and continued to encourage [her] to undress.”

The lawsuit also describes an incident of alleged sexual abuse:

After Nikolas took off her clothing, Milosh immediately began digitally penetrating Nikolas in her anus. Nikolas asked Milosh to stop, but he refused. Nikolas told Milosh the penetration hurt, but he ignored her. The pain was so severe, it caused Nikolas to well up with tears. Milosh deliberately ignored Nikolas’s explicit non-consent and simply assured Nikolas that she would enjoy the experience eventually.

The night of the alleged abuse, Nikolas says she “emailed her friends telling them that she wanted to go home and was scared,” but “under the duress of manipulation, [she] stayed with Milosh for two weeks, most of the time under the influence of alcohol.”

Later, in 2010 or 2011, Milosh allegedly “coerced Nikolas to allow him to record them having sex with both video and audio while she was heavily intoxicated.” The lawsuit says that Milosh used the audio “throughout his entire album Jet Lag,” and that “a portion of this audio was used in the song ‘Don’t Call It,’ where Nikolas was saying ‘no’ in response to Milosh anally penetrating her. At the end of the song, Milosh included sounds of Nikolas in pain during forced anal penetration.”

In her lawsuit, Nikolas also says that “record labels, management companies, and other corporate entities enabled Milosh by supporting him financially and ratifying his misconduct despite knowledge that Plaintiff was a minor and continuing to suffer abuse even after the age of majority.”

Nikolas cites one instance where Milosh met with Innovative Leisure founders Jamie Strong and Nate Nelson, claiming that “[d]uring this meeting, Milosh explained to Strong and Nelson, in detail, how he met Nikolas, their courtship, his pursuit of her as a minor, and explicit details of their lives.” Innovative Leisure co-released Rhye’s 2013 breakout Woman, and, in her lawsuit, Nikolas and her lawyers say “Strong and Nelson knew or should have known at that time that Nikolas had [been] sexually assaulted by Milosh when she was a minor, was unaware of the wrongfulness of Milosh’s conduct, and that the conduct continued past her reaching the age of majority.”

Later in the lawsuit, Nikolas describes a 2013 album release party for Milosh’s Jet Lag. She says that, at the party, “Milosh displayed his photographic ‘art’ to the guests which consisted of huge photographs of Nikolas, completely naked. These photographs were not modest in nature, but rather, displayed Nikolas’ young naked body for all to see. Nikolas adds that she “did not consent to the use of naked photographs of herself to be used in public in this manner.”

According to the lawsuit, “During the party, Milosh proudly told attendees of the party that they were listening to Nikolas during coerced anal sex throughout his entire album.” Nikolas claims, too, that “[i]ndividuals from Innovative Leisure, Polydor [Records], BIZ3 [Publicity], Loma Vista [Recordings], and KCRW Public Radio were in attendance at this party, with prior knowledge of the foundation of the deceitful relationship which was rooted in childhood sexual assault.” (A publicist for KCRW offered no comment when reached by Pitchfork.)

When reached by Pitchfork, Alexa Nikolas shared the following statement:

Milosh used his power, age and influence to take control of my life when he started grooming me back when I was 16, which is what predators do—now I am taking back control and getting out the truth of what happened.

I want the truth of what happened to help ensure he and other predators are no longer able to target and sexually abuse minors.

This past March, after Alexa Nikolas shared her open letter, Michael Milosh called Nikolas’ allegations “outrageously false” and her open letter “a piece of revisionist fiction.” He said her “stories [are] provably untrue,” adding that he is “fully prepared to cooperate with any independent investigation into” Nikolas’ claims.

Nikolas, in her open letter, claimed that Milosh reneged on a promise of financial support after their divorce. “I have always wished her nothing but the best and continued to support her financially even after I was no longer required to under our divorce agreement,” Milosh wrote in his statement. “Eventually, I stopped paying [and] in response, Alexa has resorted to character assassination.”

Michael Milosh and Alexa Nikolas were married on March 16, 2012, according to court documents obtained by Pitchfork. The couple separated on March 26, 2016, and the divorce was finalized on May 17, 2019, the records show.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault or domestic violence, we encourage you to reach out for support:

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)

Crisis Text Line
http://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

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