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Till Lindemann (here in Frankfurt in 2017): World star under pressure

Photo: Hannelore Foerster / Getty Images

Which allegations against Till Lindemann and the band Rammstein may be published and in what form is currently highly contested. Lawyers for the band and the lead singer took partly successful action against media reports. The »Süddeutsche Zeitung« and the NDR had to take passages of their reporting offline, the blogger Kayla Shyx had to shorten her video slightly. SPIEGEL was also prohibited from making some statements by the Hamburg Regional Court, but Till Lindemann's application for injunctive relief was also largely rejected: The core of SPIEGEL's reporting can still be read online.

There is much that Lindemann and his lawyers do not deny today: In the context of Rammstein concerts, a perfidious and sophisticated recruitment system is said to have been established over the years, aimed at feeding Till Lindemann young women to his liking. It is said to have been about fun, including sexual satisfaction, before, during and after the shows. The fact that Lindemann is said to have abused his power as a world star for the consensual encounters may also continue to be written.

Several media reported on the allegations, then loud protests formed: initiatives and people came together, demonstrations against the concerts were organized, after-show parties were banned, the slogan "No stage for perpetrators" was proclaimed. Unknown persons smashed the windows of the Rammstein office. The association Campact published a petition to prevent the band's concerts in Berlin, addressed to the Berlin Senator for Sports, the Berlin Senator for Culture and the Managing Director of the Olympic Stadium.

The band continues to be celebrated, is on tour all over Europe, according to the petition. "But as long as the allegations are not clarified, the band's concerts are not a safe place for girls and women." Berlin must not become a place for sexual abuse, which is said to have taken place in rows and systematically: "We don't celebrate perpetrators!"

Lindemann's lawyers also took action against the passages of the petition text. The petition spreads untrue and seriously defamatory factual allegations, according to the pleadings obtained by SPIEGEL. "Our client did not abuse any young women," the law firm writes. The designation of Lindemann as a "perpetrator" represents a prejudgement, readers would believe that he was a convicted criminal.

Allegation of sexual abuse as an expression of opinion

The petition was unsuccessful, the concerts took place in front of a large audience in the Olympic Stadium. The legal battle, however, continued. In a reply to the district court, the association's lawyer warned of an intimidating effect on the entire discourse: The debate in the Lindemann case has a huge social dimension.

At the end of July, the Berlin Regional Court issued an interim ruling in favor of the association: The term "sexual abuse" was to be understood as a permissible expression of opinion, also because it did not constitute a concrete criminal offense. Lindemann must therefore continue to endure being called a "perpetrator". On the basis of the "undisputed sexual contacts" of the Rammstein lead singer, the platform was allowed to express itself in this way.

In a letter a few days ago, Lindemann's lawyers withdrew their application against Campact. Their official reason: The concerts in July are long gone. The sought-after ban is no longer relevant.

The withdrawal of the law firm is tantamount to admitting defeat, writes Felix Kolb, managing director of Campact. He believes in the signal effect for all people who have publicly commented on the incidents at Rammstein concerts. "Hopefully, it will also encourage people in other cases to go public with their experiences. Because it makes it clear: We will not allow ourselves to be prohibited from using clear words.«