Suit against Danny Elfman surfaces previous sexual misconduct allegations, quiet settlement

A 2018 lawsuit against Danny Elfman reportedly over sexual misconduct allegations has surfaced after the Grammy-winning television and film composer allegedly missed two payments in a settlement agreement.

Nomi Abadi, a 35-year-old musician and composer, is suing Elfman for failure to pay $85,000 of the $830,000 agreed upon in the quietly settled suit, according to court documents obtained by The Times. The suit claims that Elfman “agreed to resolve an underlying dispute which included terms that [Elfman] would make payments in four different categories in various installments over the course of 5 years totaling $830,000.00.”

According to the court documents, Elfman missed two $42,500 payments, in July 2019 and 2021, which puts him in breach of contract.

A Rolling Stone exposé published Wednesday said the 2018 lawsuit alleged that Elfman exposed himself to Abadi and masturbated in front of her without her consent on several occasions.

The outlet dug up a 2017 police report in which Elfman was accused of “indecent exposure.” In July 2018, the “Edward Scissorhands” composer entered into a settlement and nondisclosure agreement with Abadi.

Elfman did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment, but he denied any wrongdoing in a statement shared with Rolling Stone.

“It is excruciating to consider that a 50-year career may be destroyed in one news cycle as a result of vicious and wholly false allegations about sexual misconduct,” Elfman told the outlet.

“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 realized that I wanted distance from her, she made it clear that I would pay for having rejected her. … I have done nothing indecent or wrong, and my lawyers stand ready to prove with voluminous evidence that these accusations are false. This is the last I will say on this subject.”

Abadi, a child prodigy who has played the piano since she was 3 years old, founded the Female Composer Safety League in 2020, a nonprofit that describes itself as supporting survivors “regardless of whether they are able to share their stories.” Ahead of the 2023 Grammy Awards, Abadi spoke out against sexual harassment plaguing the industry at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles.

Abadi’s attorney Jeff Anderson organized the news conference, where she and other women gathered to call out the music industry, which they said enables sexual predators. Elfman was nominated for a Grammy this year for his arrangement featured in the opening credits of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

“I dream of the music industry where there are no sexual predators of women,” Abadi said. “I dream of a music industry where no little girl will ever encounter a sexual predator again. … The time for sexual predators in music is over. The time for respect for all women begins now.”

Anderson told Rolling Stone that Abadi declined to comment regarding the settlement and subsequent lawsuit, but in a statement to the outlet he discredited Elfman’s denial of wrongdoing. “It is ironic that Mr. Elfman’s current statements are directly contrary to the position he maintained in the underlying dispute and to the evidentiary record.”

Elfman, who is married to actor Bridget Fonda, has had a prolific career as a film and television composer. He’s been a regular collaborator on Tim Burton films such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Dark Shadows,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Corpse Bride” and “Beetlejuice.” He’s been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards and earned his sole Grammy for best instrumental composition for his work on Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation of “Batman.”

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