Over the month of September, allegations of sexual misconduct involving Derrick May gained traction as part of a broader conversation on sexual misconduct in electronic music. The DJ and producer has now filed a libel and defamation lawsuit against one-time collaborator Michael James, who has accused him of sexual assault and harassment on behalf of alleged victims in social media posts dating back to November 2019.
The complaint was filed on behalf of May by his lawyer, Kyle Dupuy, in the Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan. It alleges that James’ accusations are “libelous and false,” and that he’s made them specifically to harm May’s career “with reckless disregard for their truth.” The lawsuit says that the resulting controversy has forced May to resign from the MOCAD board of directors in addition to costing him bookings with TV Lounge and Paxahau‘s Movement Selects Vol. 1 as well as a guest speaker opportunity at Paris Electronic Music Week. It seeks at least $25,000 in damages.
The suit argues that James’ grievances with May stem from a dispute over their 1987 collaboration, “Strings of Life.” “While in Detroit some 30 years ago, James wrote a portion of one of May’s seminal music releases, ‘Strings of Life,” and while James has received credit for writing the piece, he is apparently disgruntled that he never achieved the fame and fortune as did May,” reads a passage.
Outside of the suit, James has been criticized for sharing details of sexual misconduct allegations involving May that were apparently told to him in confidence. In a Facebook post, James argued that their ire is misplaced. “Instead of attacking those who are doing something – hell, anything – to help their cause, women might want to spend more time focusing on the real story and the real enemy,” he wrote.
The motion hearing for Derrick May’s case against Michael James is set for October 6th.
UPDATE: A previous sentence of this article included the phrase “sexual misconduct involving Derrick May,” when in fact the actions in question are alleged and have not been proven in a court of law.
UPDATE: A paragraph has been removed from the article referencing allegations against May that have not been corroborated by additional evidence or sources on the record. Selector regrets publishing potentially damaging claims without supporting information.