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Danny Elfman Settled a Sexual Harassment Allegation for $830,000: Report

Elfman denies the claims made by musician and composer Nomi Abadi

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danny elfman sexual harassment settlement
Danny Elfman, photo by Phillip Faraone/IndieWire via Getty Images

    In 2018, Danny Elfman agreed to pay a $830,000 settlement to a woman who accused him of sexual harassment, according to a new Rolling Stone report. The news came to light because the woman is suing Elfman for allegedly failing to make payments in the agreement.

    According to court documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Elfman and Nomi Abadi, a 35-year-old musician and composer, “agreed to resolve an underlying dispute which included terms that [Elfman] would make payments in four different categories in various installments over the course of 5 years totaling $830,000.” Elfman allegedly failed to make two payments of $42,500 in 2019 and 2021, and in documents filed in Los Angeles this week, Abadi is suing for breach of contract.

    In a November 2017 police report, Abadi accused Elfman — a childhood idol of the musician, who she forged a professional relationship with after meeting in 2015 — of indecent exposure and masturbating in front of her without her consent. Quoting friends of Abadi’s familiar with the situation, the report describes a mentor-mentee relationship that quickly devolved into sexual harassment. Elfman would allegedly answer the door at his recording studio wearing a robe and nothing else, took nude photos of Abadi, and sent her inappropriate photos in addition to masturbating in front of her on several occasions; all of these experiences he explained at the time as part of his creative process, and not inherently sexual. Abadi allegedly discussed the composer’s behavior with one of his assistants, who said he had “labido [sic] interests… which i stay out of.”

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    Abadi, who is a member of the Recording Academy, founded the nonprofit Female Composer Safety League in 2020, which was meant to “break stigmas in the industry surrounding trauma and shame.” Earlier this year, she said at a Grammys press conference that she couldn’t bring herself to vote in the awards after seeing the nominees, which she said included abusers. Though she didn’t name anyone specifically, Elfman was nominated for a Grammy this year.

    Elfman denied Abadi’s allegations in statements to Rolling Stone, claiming that Abadi retaliated after he rejected her romantic advances and settled to avoid harming his career. “How do I respond to accusations so serious that being innocent is not a valid defense? It is excruciating to consider that a 50-year career may be destroyed in one news cycle as a result of vicious and wholly false allegations about sexual misconduct,” Elfman said. “Ms. Abadi’s allegations are simply not true. I allowed someone to get close to me without knowing that I was her ‘childhood crush’ and that her intention was to break up my marriage and replace my wife. When this person realized that I wanted distance from her, she made it clear that I would pay for having rejected her. I allowed an ill-advised friendship to have far-reaching consequences, and that error in judgment is entirely my fault. I have done nothing indecent or wrong, and my lawyers stand ready to prove with voluminous evidence that these accusations are false. This is the last I will say on this subject.”

    “When faced with threats from the other party to go public with untruths at the height of the #MeToo movement, [Elfman] faced the impossible choice between settling and continuing his career and earning a living for his family or deciding to fight what at the time was an unwinnable battle to tell the truth — Danny chose his family,” a representative for Elfman said in a separate statement. “It is disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that this baseless narrative would be revived now that the payments have stopped. Accusations alone should not and do not equate to guilt, and Danny will defend himself and clear his name with the volume of evidence and the other party’s own words — her words speak for themselves.”

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    Read Rolling Stone’s full report here.

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