Danny Elfman sued for defamation after denying sexual harassment allegations

Composer Nomi Abadi has filed a defamation suit against Danny Elfman on Wednesday over comments he made last year after she accused him of repeated sexual harassment and misconduct.

The lawsuit, which has been filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, said: “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.”

Elfman’s statements that are being referred to in the lawsuit are part of a Rolling Stone story that was published in July 2023. The story revealed that Abadi and Elfman had signed a $830,000 settlement and nondisclosure agreement after she alleged that The Simpsons composer had sexually harassed her several times in 2016.

The story reported that Abadi had confided in several friends and filed a detailed police report and a lawsuit in 2018 about the harassment she suffered. She alleged that Elfman exposed himself and masturbated in front of her several times without her consent, pressured her into posing nude on a trip to Paris when she was 26 and he was 61, so he could take photos of her, and gave her a martini glass filled with semen.

“This made Abadi very uncomfortable,” the police report claimed about Elfman masturbating in front of her.

“But she would just look away because Elfman insisted it help[ed] with his creativity.”

Elfman has denied these allegations in a statement that said, “Ms Abadi’s allegations are simply not true.”

“I allowed someone to get close to me without knowing that I was her ‘childhood crush’ and that her intention was to break up my marriage and replace my wife. When this person realised that I wanted distance from her, she made it clear that I would pay for having rejected her. I allowed an ill-advised friendship to have far-reaching consequences, and that error in judgement is entirely my fault.”

His lawyers claimed that Abadi freely volunteered to pose for the nude photos and the shoot was in fact, her idea. A rep for Elfman said that the martini glass never contained semen, but “was filled with the moisturising cream Cetaphil” that was meant as a “joke”.

Danny Elfman performs at Coachella in 2022 (Getty Images for Coachella)
Danny Elfman performs at Coachella in 2022 (Getty Images for Coachella)

Abadi filed a breach of contract in 2023, claiming Elfman had missed several payments. The suit was placed into arbitration later in the year, and Abadi’s lawyers have said the arbitration has still not been scheduled despite attempts to try and work out a date with Elfman’s lawyers.

In the defamation suit that was filed on Wednesday, Abadi claimed that Elfman defamed her by denying her allegations and portraying her as a “failed temptress who lied about him for reasons of revenge and greed”.

The suit also added that “Elfman coerced her into [posing nude]” and “inappropriately touched Nomi, afterwards apologising to Nomi, and later threatened her in an attempt to keep his misdeeds a secret”.

“At least 20 high profile publications repeated his and his representatives’ defamations of Nomi,” the suit added, and that the defamation resulted in a serious dwindling of job offers for Abadi.

“Nomi has suffered PTSD, anxiety, depression, nervousness, and fear for her personal safety in the wake of online harassment spurred by these defamations.”

Elfman, 71, a four-time Oscar nominee, is one of the prolific composers in the industry even today. He started his career in the 1980s as the lead singer and songwriter for New Wave band Oingo Boingo. He moved to composing film scores in 1985 when he composed the theme for Tim Burton’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. He has since scored over 100 films, and has frequently worked with Burton, including Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He is known for creating the theme for The Simpsons and the Netflix show Wednesday, and has also worked with director Sam Raimi on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

In October 2023, a second woman filed a lawsuit as Jane Doe XX and accused Elfman of sexual misconduct. The complaint stated that Elfman exposed himself to the woman during meetings from 1997 through 2002 when she was 21 years old. Elfman’s lawyers said these allegations were “baseless and absurd.”

The Independent has reached out to representatives for Abadi and Elfman.