Axl Rose sued for alleged sexual assault and battery by ex-model

Sheila Kennedy alleges Guns N’ Roses frontman assaulted her in 1989 in lawsuit filed under New York’s Adult Survivors Act

Tom Murray
Wednesday 22 November 2023 18:37 GMT
Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses
Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses (Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose has been accused of sexual assault and battery by a former model in a lawsuit filed in New York on Wednesday (22 November).

Sheila Kennedy, a former Penthouse model and Pet of the Year in 1983, alleges that the veteran rock star violently abused her in a New York hotel room in 1989.

Rose vehemently denies the accusations. His attorney, Alan Gutman, said in a statement to The Independent: “Simply put, this incident never happened. Notably, these fictional claims were filed the day before the New York State filing deadline expires.

“Though he doesn’t deny the possibility of a fan photo taken in passing, Mr Rose has no recollection of ever meeting or speaking to the Plaintiff, and has never heard about these fictional allegations prior to today.

In the court documents, obtained by The Independent, Kennedy claims that she met Rose in a nightclub where the singer invited her back to his hotel. There, the ex-model says Rose plied his guests with “cocaine, Champagne and alcohol”.

Kennedy alleges that she found herself in Rose’s bedroom where he began having aggressive sex with another model. After leaving the room, she allegedly heard the sound of objects being thrown before Rose began “screaming at the model” and telling her to get out.

Kennedy claims that Rose then came down the hallway and pushed her to the floor. “While Kennedy was on the ground, Rose grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the suite back to his bedroom,” the suit says.

Axl Rose, center, Slash, back left and Duff McKagan, back right of Guns N’ Roses (Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

It continues to say that Rose then threw Kennedy on his bed and tied her hands behind her back with her pantyhose.

“Kennedy lay there on the bed with her hands tied behind her back, bleeding, vulnerable, and alone with Rose while he was in a sexual, volatile rage,” the suit alleges.

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“Kennedy had just witnessed Rose violently have sex with another woman. He dragged Kennedy to his bedroom like a caveman and acted with uncontrolled fury. Rose had physically stopped her from leaving. Kennedy was trapped.” Rose then forcibly penetrated Kennedy, the suit claims.

“He treated her like property used solely for his sexual pleasure,” the suit says. “He did not use a condom. Kennedy did not consent and felt overpowered. She felt she had no escape or exit and was compelled to acquiesce. She believed Rose would physically attack her, or worse, if she said no or attempted to push him away. She understood that the safest thing to do was to lie in bed and wait for Rose to finish assaulting her.”

As a result of the alleged incident, the suit claims that Kennedy has suffered “lifelong emotional, physical, psychological, and financial impacts” as well as PTSD-like symptoms.

The suit lists assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gender-motivated violence as its causes of action, asking for unspecified damages to be determined by the court.

Kennedy’s attorney, prominent sexual harassment lawyer Dr Ann Olivarius, said in a statement to The Independent: “We expect that Sheila Kennedy’s decision to file this suit will be an important turning point for the music industry. Her account is unfortunately all too typical of a culture of violence and sexual misconduct that has been allowed to exist in plain sight for decades.

“It’s not just individual musicians stepping out of line, but an industrial system of enabling them and then covering up their misconduct and crimes, silencing survivors and normalizing sexual assault. We hope Sheila’s bravery helps other victims find their voice.”

The Independent has contacted Rose’s representatives for comment.

Kennedy’s is the latest high-profile suit to be filed through New York’s Adult Survivors Act (ASA), which temporarily waived the statute of limitations on sexual misconduct claims for civil suits.

The ASA was signed last year, and provided a one-year window for survivors of assault to come forward, regardless of when the assault took place.

A number of prominent figures, including Donald Trump, P Diddy, and Bill Cosby, have been accused under the ASA. They are among more than 2,500 cases brought under the ASA, many of which accuse members of the prison and health systems in the state.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)

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