Otep Shamaya: Terror Universal Singer ‘Tried to Force His Fingers Through My Pants’
Controversy hit the world of metal earlier this week when Otep exited the current 'Civil Unrest' tour. Frontwoman Otep Shamaya claimed she had been groped by the vocalist of opening act Terror Universal, and now, Otep herself finally tells her side of the story in full detail.
During an appearance on the Metal Sucks podcast, Shamaya described her unfortunate encounter during a 43-minute interview. Shamaya had plenty of time to go in-depth, and that's exactly what she did.
This was during the meet and greet. We had the entire floor lined up waiting for their opportunity to come out and maybe buy a t-shirt or take a photograph. Suddenly I hear from off in the corner, “What the f--- is this?” And then some guy who I don’t even know… I was never introduced to him at all, they wear masks on stage and they never took the time to introduce themselves. I know Dave [Chavarri, also of Ill Nino], their drummer, I’ve known him for a long time, he and I are friends. But this gentleman, the singer for Terror Universal, I’ve never met before. He pushed through our security, pushed past our merchandise guy and walked right up to me and shoved his hand between my legs. I don’t want to get too graphic because it’s extremely upsetting and emotionally disturbing, but he shoved his hand between my legs and tried to force his fingers through my pants. At that time I shoved him away.
I stand on a chair and put one leg up on the merch table so I can reach, because I’m 5 foot 5 and I’ve got a lot of 6 foot 5 fans. In order for me to get good pictures with them I need to be up higher than I am sitting down. Plus I don’t want to sit down when I meet my fans; I want to meet them face to face and shake their hand. So I put one leg up on the table and one leg on the chair and he just walked right up and did that.
He was obviously drunk, which is still no excuse, but still. He had done similar things to the male members of my band. He grabbed every member of my band’s penis while they were carrying gear. He would just walk up to them and not just paint-brush it, but physically grab a hold of it. They were telling him to chill out.
After that happened I told them that was it, they were off the tour. I called my tour manager over and I said they’re done. Security dragged him out of the venue. His band put him in a van and from what I understand drove him away from the venue as quick as possible because they were afraid I was gonna call the police. I got calls from Dave, the drummer, who is also their manager, and he was begging me, “Please don’t do that, we’ll fire him, we’ll get the singer from Thira (the other opening band on the tour), please don’t kick us off the tour.” I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that, I can’t take that chance, I’ve been violated.”
This kind of an assault does something to you psychologically and emotionally. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t understand that and will try to say that I’m overacting. But unless it’s happened to you, you don’t know what that kind of violation feels like. It was really tough. I was very, very angry about the whole situation.
Otep has run into criticism online from individuals who either don't believe her story and/or think she was attempting to extort money from the tour by threatening to head home. In response, Otep offered the following quotes:
Once I told the story on Facebook there were a lot of people that said that I was making it up, or blowing it out of proportion. They even claimed that I’m a man-hater, which is absolutely absurd … I have been playing music for 14 years, I’ve got seven albums, I’ve written seven books. I do voice-over work as a voice-over actor: I was just featured in the last Hobbit movie, I was on the Playstation game The Last Of Us, I’ve done other films, I have a merchandise company. I’m a working class artist, I do very well, and I don’t need to extort anybody for anything.
Check out the full interview at Metal Sucks. Otep currently have only one tour date scheduled. They're set to rock Pico Rivera, Calif. on April 25.