Avi Buffalo accused of rape by former bandmate; Sub Pop pulls band’s music
Avi Zahner-Isenberg of Avi Buffalo, has been accused of rape, emotional abuse and harassment by former bandmate Rebecca Coleman.
In a lengthy statement on Instagram posted on Monday, Coleman wrote, "releasing this personal information into the world was a decision that took me ten years to make." She goes onto to detail her relationship with Zahner-Isenberg, which started in high school in Long Beach, CA when they were both teenagers. She had fended off his advances -- he name-dropped her in lyrics of his songs -- but ended up joining his band in 2006, playing keyboards and violin, and they began a relationship in 2008.
Coleman then writes about Avi breaking up with her and making up "over and over again," and laying out a pattern of emotional abuse with "countless instances of deception and dishonesty," including cheating on her. They broke up for good and Coleman got back together with former boyfriend Devin O’Brien who would also later join Avi Buffalo as guitarist and tour manager. O'Brien and Coleman are now both in the band Pageants.
The first rape, according to Coleman, happened in 2009 when Zahner-Isenberg asked Coleman and O'Brien to come over for a band photo shoot. Coleman says she was the first to arrive. “When Avi opened the door he began immediately undressing me,” she writes. “I agreed to fool around but made it very clear that we were not going to have sex.” She says Zahner-Isenberg climbed on top of her and began to have sex with her despite her protests.
"He then got on top of me and I reminded him that he had agreed not to have sex with me. He penetrated me anyway," she wrote. "I told him to stop but he didn’t. I tried to push them off of me but he was putting all of his weight down on me. It was at this time that I heard the front door close. Devin had arrived. Everything washed over me and I became really emotional. I pleaded for Avi to stop and told him that I wanted to go out there and that 'I really like that guy.' When he still wouldn’t stop I told him I was going to scream. He proceeded to hold his hand over my mouth to muffle me while he continued to rape me. When he finished I was furious, embarrassed, ashamed and felt like I had betrayed Devin."
Coleman says Zahner-Isenberg made her leave his house through the bathroom window and that the next day at school he said to her, 'I know, I raped you and stuff, I’m sorry.'"
It was also at this point that Avi Buffalo had signed to Sub Pop and were set to go on tour with Beach House. Coleman says, "I was so caught up emotionally and had invested so much of my time and energy into the project, but I stayed in the band and tried to make things work, thus leaving the door open for more manipulation and abuse from Avi." She says Zahner-Isenberg raped her again during the tour while staying at Avi's sister's house one night. According to Coleman, he began harassing O'Brien as well.
Coleman quit Avi Buffalo in 2010 and that she's avoided him since. "Upon my exit from the band I signed a contract not to talk negatively about Avi/Avi Buffalo, etc. I do not know if this contract still stands but honestly, I do not give a fuck. Time's Up."
You can read Coleman's whole post below.
Zahner-Isenberg has not responded to the allegations but Avi Buffalo's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all been deleted.
Sub Pop have removed Avi Buffalo's pages from their website and webstore, and they tell Pitchfork that they are in the process of removing Avi Buffalo's music from digital services:
After hearing about a rape accusation that was shared yesterday, Sub Pop is in the process of removing all Avi Buffalo music from our stores and digital services. We do not accept sexual abuse and assault towards anybody and we commend anyone who is able to muster up the strength to speak out and share their experiences; that's not easy. We believe and support Rebecca and hope that she is able to cope and heal.
This story may still be developing.