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Paul Oakenfold responds to allegations of sexual harassment following filing of lawsuit in LA

By | Published on Tuesday 6 June 2023

Paul Oakenfold

Producer and DJ Paul Oakenfold has responded to allegations of sexual harassment that have been made against him by a former personal assistant. Those claims, he insists, are part of a “calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and extort money”.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit that was filed with the courts in LA last week, in which an unnamed woman accuses Oakenfold, his manager Paul Stepanek, and the latter’s companies New Frequency Management and Stepanek Management, of violating her employment rights.

The plaintiff says that she began working for LA-based New Frequency Management last October, primarily assisting Oakenfold, which involved working from the DJ’s home. “Throughout plaintiff’s tenure with defendants, and very shortly after starting work for defendants, plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment by Oakenfold”, the lawsuits claims.

It then alleges that on four different occasions, including on the first day the plaintiff was assisting the DJ at his home, “Oakenfold touched his genitals and then masturbated in front of plaintiff when Oakenfold was aware that plaintiff could not escape”.

“In each instance of masturbation”, it goes on, “Oakenfold stimulated his genitals with his hand, in close proximity to plaintiff, for plaintiff to see. On each separate date of masturbation, Oakenfold masturbated for longer periods of time”.

On one occasion, the lawsuit claims, this actually occurred in the plaintiff’s own car. “Oakenfold sat in the passenger seat, spread his legs wide, and proceeded to masturbate with plaintiff only inches away, while plaintiff was driving Oakenfold home from the post office. Plaintiff froze in fear and shock while being in such close proximity to Oakenfold”.

The plaintiff says that she made the decision to report these incidents to her employer in mid-November, making a formal complaint to Stepanek on 29 Nov.

Two days later, she claims, she was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “Rather than protect plaintiff, defendants closed rank around Oakenfold”, the lawsuit states. “CEO Stepanek told plaintiff that employer defendants would fire her if she did not sign the non-disclosure agreement”.

She ultimately agreed to sign the NDA under duress, the lawsuit states, and she then subsequently worked elsewhere in Stepanek’s business. However, her hours were reduced and, ultimately, she was told on 13 Mar this year that her services were no longer required because there was insufficient work for her to do.

In the months between making her complaint and being laid off, the plaintiff alleges, Stepanek “repeatedly brought up Oakenfold and attorneys, making plaintiff even more uncomfortable”.

“Defendants terminated plaintiff not for any legitimate reason”, the lawsuit then concludes, “but in retaliation for plaintiff’s complaints about the aforementioned sexual harassment, in violation of the law”.

The plaintiff accuses Oakenfold, Stepanek and the management companies of violations of Californian employment law, and in particular sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination in violation of the state’s Fair Employment And Housing Act, as well as wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

The lawsuit also notes that Oakenfold is seemingly no longer represented by Stepanek’s companies. It says: “On information and belief, Oakenfold terminated employer defendants’ representation agreement and is not currently represented by employer defendants”.

Oakenfold himself responded to the allegations last night on Instagram. He wrote: “I want to address recent allegations of sexual harassment made against me. Let me be absolutely clear: I categorically deny any and all claims of improper conduct. Respect, integrity, and consent are values I hold dear, and I have always treated everyone with utmost professionalism”.

“It is disheartening to see these baseless accusations”, he added, “which appear to be nothing more than a calculated attempt to tarnish my reputation and extort money. I am committed to fully cooperating with any investigations to clear my name and will exhaust all legal remedies available, including the option to countersue, to protect my reputation and seek justice. Thank you for your unwavering support and understanding during this challenging time”.