Content warning: This article is about sexual assault
Following reports of sexual assault and behavioural misconduct about Erick Morillo, which have emerged since his death, DJ Mag has been contacted by a former dancer in a Miami club who wished to give her account of being attacked by the late DJ.
According to her testimony (below), Morillo sexually assaulted her at an after-party at his home in Miami over a decade ago.
Morillo was found dead in his Miami home on September 1st, three days before he was due to appear in court to face a charge of sexual battery. His arrest was related to an alleged offence at his home in December 2019. Morillo initially denied the accusation, but on August 5th 2020, results from the rape kit taken at the time of the incident tested positive for his DNA. He handed himself in to the police with his attorney the next day, and was arrested and charged.
Below is the testimony of the Miami dancer, who has chosen to remain anonymous:
“I grew up in NYC, went to school in Miami and I’m 34 now.
“I was a dancer in Miami — not a stripper; a performer, a go-go dancer. I was working one night, and I was with the owner of a big nightclub in Miami who I was good friends with at the time. He had made me the main dancer, where I was right in front of the DJ booth. Erick was playing, and I guess he saw me — I remember being introduced to him at the club, and it was really creepy, I remember him being a total creep literally from the moment we met. He would just stare at me like I was a piece of meat.
“Unfortunately, I was just kind of used to that sort of behaviour, which is sad to say. Going out from a young age in cities like New York and Miami, you’re numb to creepy men. But there’s obviously a difference between someone being creepy and someone being a rapist. So basically, my friend who owned the club was like ‘Do you want to after-party at Erick’s house?’ I was young, this was ten years ago now, I was 23, 24, and at that point I liked to party and didn’t have many responsibilities besides getting to my dancing shifts, so I said yes.
“I didn’t go with a girl because I was friends with the owner, so we went together. Everything was cool, we partied. He was creepy, but he wasn’t creepy enough where I wouldn’t go back to his house another time.
“So then, the next weekend or later that week we went back to an after-party. In Miami it’s super-casual, it’s not weird to do that, everyone ends up at whoever’s house if you party, it’s not weird to end up hanging out with friends. Anyway, it was just the three of us. I almost felt like one of the boys, I felt very comfortable because my friend was a good friend of mine where I didn’t feel that I needed a girl friend with me.
“At sunrise, in the morning, he falls asleep outside — my friend — and I’m like, ‘Fuck, this is weird, I need to get home, I haven’t eaten’, so I start going to find my belongings on the couch — my bag, sweatshirt, whatever I had. I was in the living room and before I could even find my stuff I felt someone walking behind me, but I didn’t turn around. I felt him whispering something, behind my neck, ‘Come take a shower with me’. I thought I heard him wrong, so I turned around and was like ‘What!?’ He basically kept repeating it, and then I got scared. I definitely did not give any message that I was flirting or wanting to hook up, we had never kissed before, and within seconds he pinned me down on the couch, held both of my wrists back and straddled me – it was very very scary. I kept saying ‘No’, I was turning my head, he kept trying to kiss me, and because I was turning my head so much and saying ‘No’, he was basically slobbering and licking my whole face. It was disgusting.
“He tried taking off my clothes, I was fighting him off me, and finally – I don’t know what happened, I had superhuman strength and I don’t remember if I kicked his balls or kicked something but he flew off of me. And I just ran. I grabbed my bag as fast as I could and I just ran out the front door. Thank god my car was there. I got in the car, and I’ll never forget – it was raining outside. I was shaking and crying, and as soon as I saw a familiar place by my house I pulled in, and I just sat there. I could not believe what had just happened. I had never had any trouble with men where I thought I was in danger, so I was petrified.
“Finally my friend who brought me there woke up, and I told him [on the phone] what happened. He felt horrible, so he definitely knew [about Morillo’s behaviour], but they stayed friends forever. I know he felt bad and said he was going to talk to him.
“I didn’t go to the police because I was thinking in my head, ‘He didn’t rape me’. He almost did. So I was just like ‘I never want to see this person ever again, I never want to see his face, I never want to hear his name’.
“Oh, he also said to me when it was clear I wasn’t going to have sex with him, ‘Do you know who the fuck I am? Everyone wants to fuck me’. Or something along those lines.
“He had my phone number, and he texted me at three in the morning a short while later – shamelessly, he obviously didn’t give a fuck that he almost raped me – being super sketchy. I was dancing, and at the end of my shift I looked at my phone and it said his name and he was saying, ‘Hey, what are you doing, do you want to come over?’ I never responded, of course. My heart was like, oh my god. I felt like it was this dirty little secret, and I just didn’t know who to tell at the time — I was so young.
“When I saw a picture or heard his name I’d get this horrible feeling inside, because he was a monster — he was an actual monster. I’ve hung out with DJs and whoever in the party scene, and no one does this — or no one that I’ve ever met. There’s been people who have been creepy and said things that I wish I’d never had to hear, and then there was Erick and it was a whole different level where I felt I was in danger and scared for other women. I know there’s a lot of other girls coming out now. My story is definitely a story, but I got lucky. I know that a lot of other girls didn’t get as lucky, and they didn’t get away. It’s just super sad. It’s crazy that people are defending this guy, when so many people knew. That’s what really bothers me.
“It was very traumatic what happened to me. No, he didn’t rape me, but I have flashbacks of him attacking me and him on top of me. I have nightmares about it to this day, and I know there’s probably hundreds of other women who will come out. I’m so confused why everyone is, now that he’s dead, praising him in being like their Lord and saviour, when he’d just turned himself in for raping a girl. Why are we praising rapists? I don’t get it. I’m shocked and sickened by this whole thing.
“I’ve been in therapy for years, and I just told my therapist about this now. I’ve never told anyone, and she’s just like ‘This is a big thing to not tell someone’. I had buried it so deep inside because it was so traumatic.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, there is a helpline number specifically for the electronic dance music industry. Originally set up by DJ Mag, the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) and others, the helpline is being operated by workplace health organisation Health Assured and staffed by trained experts. The number to call is 0800 030 5182. You can also contact Rape Crisis on 0808 802 9999, as well as the Samaritans on 116 123.
The former Miami club employee reached out to DJ Mag to share her testimony about an incident, which occurred a decade ago