Danny Elfman sued for defamation by fellow composer after denying sexual harassment accusations

Danny Elfman
(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Danny Elfman is being sued for defamation related to claims of sexual harassment made against him.

Last year, Elfman, perhaps best known for his collaborations with director Tim Burton, spoke to Rolling Stone about historical accusations made against him by fellow film composer Nomi Abadi.

Abadi had previously claimed that Elfman acted inappropriately on numerous occasions from 2015 to 2016.

The Beetlejuice composer's representatives challenged the accusations, asserting that he did not engage in the misconduct alleged, which included claims that he masturbated in front of Abadi, touched her inappropriately, and presented her with a martini glass full of his bodily fluids. 

In 2017, Elfman and his accuser entered a $830,000 settlement and NDA, though a breach of contract lawsuit was issued last year, with Abadi alleging that Elfman had missed two $42,500 payments.

In the Rolling Stone piece investigating the settlement, Elfman made a number of defensive statements, allegedly incorrectly colouring his accuser as “a failed temptress who lied about him for reasons of revenge and greed", as well as “a scorned woman attempting to break up his marriage."

Abadi adds that Elfman suggested that she "invited" his misconduct, including by "requesting that he take nude pictures of her". She asserts that she was coerced into the action. It was also claimed that Elfman grabbed Abadi “by the wrist with his other hand, jamming her hand onto her genitals,” demanding she masturbate.

The suit against Elfman states: “Nomi was terrified, frozen, and pretended to appease Defendant Elfman", additionally revealing that the composer allegedly later apologised for his behaviour, blaming it on a loss of control and that ‘something had gotten into him.’”

In reference to the defamatory comments, the suit states that “Defendant Danny Elfman peddled appalling lies for publication to Rolling Stone about Nomi, who had previously in an earlier lawsuit truthfully relayed facts corroborating his penchant to sexually abuse women.

“Why? As part of a harebrained ‘zero sum’ scheme by Elfman to prop up his checkered reputation by destroying Nomi’s credibility."

It concludes: "As a result of Elfman and his representatives’ defamations, Nomi has suffered humiliation, both personally and professionally, within their shared composing industry and online, and harm to her professional reputation and her occupation as a composer, musician, and educator.”

In October 2023, a second woman, filed as Jane Doe XX, accused Elfman of exposing himself to her frequently during meetings that took place from 1997 to 2002.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.