#MeToo: Romanian hip-hop band co-founder fired after sexual harassment allegations

Several women have accused local musician Calin Ionescu of harassment and sexual assault within the #MeToo campaign that went viral on social media networks. The rapper was fired from a local advertising agency he worked for as a result of these allegations. He denied the sexual assault accusations and apologized for the language used in his online interactions with his accusers.

Calin Ionescu, who is better known as Rimaru, is the co-founder of R.A.C.L.A, one of the most popular hip-hop groups in Romania. He also worked as Group Creative Director at local advertising agency Centrade Cheil.

Several young women used the #MeToo hashtag on Facebook to tell other people how Rimaru used his position at the Centrade Cheil to flirt with them on the social network, and used an aggressive language, threatening and offending them. Some of these girls even published images of private conversations they had with him. Moreover, two women claimed that the Romanian artist had physically assaulted them.

Following these accusations, Centrade Cheil reacted on Facebook, reiterating the agency’s “firm position against aggression of any kind, at work and in the society.” Moreover, the company announced on Thursday, October 19, that the agency decided to no longer work with Calin Ionescu.

“In recent days, we have carefully analyzed the situation and the high number of allegations received against Calin Ionescu, from outside the agency. Based on all this information, the Centrade Cheil management had a meeting with Calin Ionescu, and decided to terminate his work contract,” reads the Facebook post.

Calin Ionescu also presented his point of view on Facebook, saying that he was “surprised to learn that some private messages from two years ago were communicated to the press as a justification for the alleged sexual harassment.” He also said that he is known as a hip-hop artist whose songs usually involve “a direct and sometimes licentious language,” and that this music genre defined not only his musical career but also some aspects of his life. Moreover, while apologizing for any “less respectful interactions” with other people, he strongly contested “any charge of sexual harassment or any other similar accusation.”

“In fact, I think that even those who are accusing me didn’t really took my alleged aggressive language seriously two years ago. A testimony to this is the fact that they have not acted legally against me. It’s obvious that any person who would have a legitimate fear that he might be physically assaulted would immediately address the competent authorities,” reads Ionescu’s Facebook post.

The artist also said that he has received many negative reactions in the last few days, and even death threats. “I believe that in a mature society we can all make the difference between an insulting language and a real social threat. As far as I am concerned, I believe that under no circumstances I can be included into the latter category.”

Women from all over the world have been using the #MeToo hashtag on social networks in the recent days, sharing their stories and pulling an alarm signal about the big issue of sexual harassment. The campaign started after sexual abuse allegations emerged against American film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Irina Marica, [email protected]

(Photo source: Calin Ionescu on Facebook)