Mass Exodus From Life Or Death PR Following Sexual Harassment Debacle

It seems that they have made their choice. Following the twitter storm that called out CEO and founder of Life Or Death PR, Heathcliff Berru, for gross sexual misconduct, the company will die a quick, but probably painful, death. Remaining staff have now announced their departure from the company, and plans for a new venture.

Initially accused of harassment by Dirty Projector’s Amber Coffman, many other women in the music industry have joined the conversation with their own stories about Berru. After a quick resignation from the company following the mass call out on social media, Berru has now issued a statement apologising for his conduct.  Attributing some (or all, it remains unclear) of his behaviour to alcohol and drugs, he has made it known that he intends to embark on a stint in rehab. Not only the most sensible plan to help him kick the habit, but also an excellent isolated place in which to ride out a nasty media storm, we would imagine.

As the accusations piled up, Life Or Death’s client roster dwindled over night as many cut ties with the firm. Representative of a number of high profile artists, including D’Angelo, DIIV and Odd Future, the incident seriously rocked the company’s reputation and relationships with those artists. Especially as many have stated their belief that Life Or Death must have been aware of Berru’s conduct, but chose to turn a blind eye. Beth Martinez, of Danger Village PR and another of Berru’s victims, commented that “The people there, including [Life or Death president] Nick Dierl, were aware of Heathcliff’s behaviour. He started the company. It is his values that that company represents.”

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Unsurprisingly, president Nick Dierl has now announced that Life Or Death will dissolve following the events of the last week. The following statement was issued on Wednesday afternoon:

“In light of recent events, the remainder of the Life or Death staff is leaving the company today. 

We are saddened by the circumstances under which we are departing but are grateful for the opportunity we had together. 

There will be a new venture imminently that bears no ties to Heathcliff Berru or the Life or Death name.

More soon from Bradley, Linda, Duncan, Emily and Nick.”

The statement follow hints from the PR firm’s roster artist Killer Mike, after he tweeted “Life or death is no more”. He also stated that he would like to continue working with his publicist Duncan Will (mentioned in the above statement from Life Or Death). Clearly seeing a distinction between Berru and the rest of the team, it will remain to be seen whether others can do the same. It is likely that others will share Martinez’s view that Berru’s behaviour wrongly remained unchallenged by those he worked with.


The incident has also sparked the creation of a new blog, where women are invited to “name and shame” perpetrators of this kind of harassment in the music industry. The brainchild of an anonymous member of the industry, the blog This Industry Ain’t Safe is a clear sign that sexism and misogyny in music has a very short shelf life. And will no longer be tolerated or go unchallenged, no matter what PR spin you put on it.