Axl Rose refutes allegations of sexual abuse, cites earlier acknowledgments of consent by accuser

Axl Rose wearing sunglasses
(Image credit: Mario Renzi - Formula 1 via Getty Images)

In November, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose was accused of sexual assault by former Penthouse model Sheila Kennedy. The allegations were detailed in a lawsuit filed at New York Supreme Court, and detailed an alleged assault that took place in 1989, after Kennedy met Rose in a nightclub. Now Rose's legal representatives have refuted those claims, claiming that Kennedy had previously confirmed that the incident was consensual.  

In new court documents seen by a number of sources, Rose's lawyer writes, “In her 2016 self-authored memoir, No One’s Pet, Kennedy described the alleged incident in the Complaint as consensual sex, and specifically noted: 'I was okay with this. I had wanted to be with him since the minute I’d first laid eyes on him, and now I was getting him.'"

The attorney goes on: “In an interview for the 2021 documentary Look Away, Kennedy described the alleged sexual encounter this way: '[i]t was consented'; Rose was 'not trying to hurt me'; and Rose acted 'gently.' Kennedy reiterated: 'It was okay. He was fine. ... I did not consider it rape. It was consensual.'"

Kennedy's lawsuit was filed shortly before the statute of limitations on sexual-misconduct claims for civil suits returned (it was originally waived for 12 months in November 2022 under the terms of the New York’s Adult Survivors Act), and Rose's legal team have accused Kennedy of attempting to profit from the statute's re-opening. 

"Despite having made clear and definitive statements, both before and after the height of the 'Me Too' movement, that her alleged sexual encounter with Rose was consensual, her position has now shifted," they write. "The belief that the statute of limitations had re-opened and that she could profit from claiming – for the first time, nearly 35 years later – that the incident had not in fact been consensual, was apparently too great an opportunity to pass up, and so she filed this false Complaint a mere two days before its expiration."

Rose's lawyers have also demanded that sanctions be levelled against Kennedy and her lawyers for allegedly "engaging in frivolous conduct, making materially false statements, engaging in conduct undertaken primarily to harass and maliciously injure Defendant, and failing to conduct reasonable inquiry and diligence."

Kennedy's suit stated that she agreed to attend a party in Rose's hotel suite, where she and other guests were plied with cocaine and alcohol, before she was allegedly attacked and assaulted.   

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.