Axl Rose accused of violent sexual assault in lawsuit by former Penthouse model

Axl Rose at the Las Vegas Grand Prix in 2023
(Image credit: Mario Renzi - Formula 1)

Axl Rose has been accused of sexual assault by former Penthouse model Sheila Kennedy. The charges were detailed in a lawsuit filed at New York Supreme Court yesterday,

According to the court documents, which have been obtained by Rolling Stone, the alleged assault took place in 1989, after Kennedy met Rose in a nightclub.

Kennedy alleges that the she agreed to attend a party in Rose's hotel suite, where she and other guests were plied with cocaine and alcohol. The suit claims that Rose “pushed Kennedy against the wall and kissed her" after she went to the bathroom, and that “Kennedy found Rose attractive and did not mind this encounter. She was open to sleeping with him if things progressed."

The suit goes on to allege that Rose later had sex with another model while Kennedy was in the room, and that “Rose was aggressive in a way that appeared painful for the model." Kennedy also claimed that Rose was "encouraging group sex." 

Kennedy became uncomfortable and left the room with another guest, future MTV host Riki Rachtman. The suit alleges that she then heard the sound of glass breaking and reports Rose screaming “You’re a fucking whore. Get the fuck out of here."

The suit claims that Rose then made his way to Rachtman’s room and attacked Kennedy, alleging that “While Kennedy was on the ground, Rose grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the suite back to his bedroom."

"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 continues. “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.” 

The suit goes on to allege that Rose then forcibly penetrated Kennedy’s anus with his penis.

Although Kennedy's lawsuit was filed shortly before the statute of limitations on sexual-misconduct claims for civil suits – waived for 12 months in November 2022 under the terms of the New York’s Adult Survivors Act – returns on Friday, she has detailed the alleged assault twice before, in her 2016 autobiography, No One’s Pet, and in Look Away, a 2021 documentary about sexual misconduct in the music industry.

Louder reached out to Rose's representatives for comment, and received a statement from his attorney, Alan S. Gutman at Gutman Law in Los Angeles.

“Simply put, this incident never happened," says Gutman. "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." 

"Mr. Rose is confident this case will be resolved in his favour." 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.