Rhye's Michael Milosh Accused of Grooming and Sexual Abuse
Published Mar 16, 2021Michael Milosh — the Canadian musician and songwriter known best for his work as Rhye — has been accused of grooming, sexual assault, physical abuse and financial manipulation by his ex-wife, actress Alexa Nikolas.
As multiple outlets report, Nikolas made the allegations in an "open letter" titled "Groomed By the Groom" that she shared in a series of Instagram posts, writing, "This is an open letter about an older male ephebophile musician that groomed a teenager for a green card, success, and sex... As a mother I could not let my story go unheard any longer."
UPDATE (3/17, 1:50 p.m. ET): Milosh has now issued a lengthy statement denying the allegations against him. You can read it in full here.
The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault and violence. If you believe you have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct and are looking for support, consult the Government of Canada's Sexual Misconduct Support Tool to find resources in your area.
In her letter, Nikolas recalled an interview she gave to Verse in 2018, in which she details how she first contacted Milosh when she was 16 while on LSD in an Iowa cornfield while working on the TV movie Children of the Corn.
"After my acid trip, or actually during it, I looked Milosh up and decided to send him a message," she told Verse in 2018. "The message read 'Hi my name is Alexa. I like your music. If you're ever in Los Angeles, I'd love to see you play.' Two minutes later he responds 'what's your phone number' and within a minute of responding I get a call from him."
Nikolas wrote on Instagram that Milosh and his representatives tried to "take down" the Verse interview after its publication. "I couldn't believe it. I said nothing damaging and even withheld many truths out of fear of him not helping me financially during our separation," she shared.
Of their initial phone call, the actress wrote, "It was definitely flirtatious. It did not seem like just a friendly phone call. He gave me his email address and said to keep in touch. He was aware of my age."
Nikolas added that "Later on, after I had just turned 17, he responded with an invitation to fly to New York so that he could take photographs and meet me in person."
While she rejected that invitation, she would remain in contact with Milosh before turning 18. Nikolas wrote that during that time, "A lot of our conversations revolved around his photography, his music, and his desire to film me," adding that "A lot of our conversations were via skype video chat. They were all sexual and flirtatious. I can account on numerous occasions undressing up on his request."
Nikolas wrote that she received a call from Milosh on her 18th birthday, inviting her to visit him in Berlin "again on the basis of wanting to take photographs of me." She accepted, and also lent him money for an apartment that she would later learn would cover a full month of his rent.
Nikolas alleged that Milosh raped her upon her first night in Germany. "My first sexual experience with Milosh was the first night I arrived in Berlin," she wrote. "I was 18 years old and he was 35 years old. I took a shower and was on my period, which I remember feeling good about because I didn't want to sleep with him right away. I wanted to postpone sleeping together so we could get to know one another."
Milosh played her some music he wrote, and asked her to take off her clothes. Nikolas wrote, "I told him no, I'm on my period, and I don't feel comfortable. He responded saying he doesn't care about having sex while a girl is on her period. He also said he likes the taste of blood. I remember feeling very uncomfortable but I was attracted to him and I did not want our first sexual experience to be spoiled. I did not respect my no and neither did he."
Nikolas recalled Milosh telling her to relax before "he spit on his fingers and began to press his thumb into my ass. I told him no, that does not feel good, and he said to relax and to trust him."
She continued, "I remember a tear coming out as he was looking down at me. He told me 'We will just do one thumb today. One thumb at a time.' Then he continued to have vaginal intercourse with me without a condom."
A week after Nikolas returned home to Los Angeles, Milosh sent her "Major Minor Love," a song "about grooming a young girl and gaslighting" that would appear on Rhye's 2013's debut album Woman. Of the track, the actress wrote, "He said that the line 'A dark rhythm beating just behind' was in reference to anal sex. Also the title was a play on words, major/minor key and the fact that I was a minor when we first started talking. In retrospect reading those lyrics is deeply disturbing."
Nikolas and Milosh continued "a long-distance affair" through 2010 into 2011. She wrote that in January 2011, she paid for Milosh to fly to Los Angeles and that she paid for everything when he was staying there. While in the city, Milosh scheduled a music video shoot and signed a record deal with Innovative Leisure.
"It's becoming more and more clear that he was conveniently using me," Nikolas said of that time. "Innovative Leisure was paying for his flights, his girlfriend was paying for his life in Berlin, and I was paying for life in Los Angeles. All the while I was blindly falling in love with this manipulative man. Somewhere around October he broke up with his girlfriend and asked if he could move in with me."
Nikolas wrote that "When Milosh was visiting he suggested this idea that he would mic me up during sex and use the sounds as samples in his songs," claiming that for the song "Don't Call It," which would appear on his 2013 album Jetlag as Milosh, features "the sound of me saying 'No'...reversed...to saying 'On.'"
Press for Jetlag upon its release widely referred to the album as a collaborative effort between Milosh and Nikolas, with the latter also starring in accompanying music videos behind the effort.
Nikolas also alleged that such an instance of "Milosh bragging about sexual violence and exploiting women in his music" also appears on his 2006 Milosh album Meme.
The actress recalled him reportedly boasting about getting two Japanese women drunk and then having sex with them while recording audio, which would later be included in the album track "Instrumental." She said of the alleged incident, "I doubt he got consent because they did not speak English and they were intoxicated."
Nikolas and Milosh moved in together in Los Angeles around 2011, and the actress wrote that during this time, her mental health began to deteriorate from an unrelated trauma. She shared, "Upon Milosh's arrival I was not healed from that traumatic experience. I started to have panic attacks on a regular basis... [But] instead of him being loving and supportive through it all he was abusive. He started telling me I had to get over it or I was going to become a loser as an adult."
She wrote, "Whenever I got upset he got more upset. Sometimes he actually clocked the amount of time I spoke about it."
Nikolas alleged that Milosh "would react by punching the refrigerator and candles. Creating multiple dents in my fridge and even hurting his own hand through the process. I was scared."
Milosh would ask Nikolas to marry him after dating for six months, when she was 19 years old. She said yes. Years later, she would discover that his label was gearing up to drop him if he did not secure an artist visa to tour with Rhye behind Woman.
"This all happened right before he asked me to marry him. So you can connect the dots on that one," Nikolas wrote on Instagram. "So we got married. I joined him on tour throughout the US, not knowing the email exchange between him and his team."
Nikolas shared that "During this time Milosh could not have sex without encouraging anal penetration, and it was something I was very uncomfortable with." Upon expressing her discomfort with him, Milosh "stopped having any type of sexual relationship" with her, leading to "a disconnect in our marriage."
In 2015, Milosh allegedly admitted to Nikolas that he had raped a Jamaican woman in his mid-20s, saying that Nikolas "should be proud of myself where I am because that is where he was at in his 20s." Days after advising him to contact the woman, meet with her and apologize, she had an anxiety attack, upon which Milosh allegedly "charged at me, picked me up, pushed me on the couch, and pressed his forearm into my throat and continually screamed 'shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up!' I couldn't breathe."
Nikolas explained how she began seeing a therapist after further splits, reconciliations and talk of divorce, which helped her identify the toxic patterns of her relationship with Milosh. Their "nightmare" divorce took three years, during which she alleged Milosh pressured her to sign paperwork without a lawyer present.
Nikolas' letter can be found in full below. Milosh has yet to comment on the allegations
She concluded, "To this day I think he was grooming me since I was 16 years old and I think he got everything he wanted out of that situation, he got financial support as a struggling artist, a green card to continue his career, notoriety, and sex. To this day I still suffer PTSD from that relationship, even doubting my own sanity on some days. Creating this open letter has shown me that I'm not insane. My wish to Milosh is for him to experience a profound metanoia and renounce all of his disturbing ways."