Detroit Techno Pioneer Derrick May Hit With Waves Of Sexual Assault Accusations

A month after late house legend Erick Morillo turned himself in on sexual assault charges, Detroit techno legend Derrick May has been hit with a new wave of admonishments on social media following sexual assault allegations of his own. 57-year-old Derrick May, credited with pioneering techno in the 1980s along with collaborators Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson, commonly known as the Belleville Three, has been accused of inappropriate sexual advances and sexual assault going back decades.

Last Tuesday, DJ Michael James, also from Detroit, came out with scathing accusations of May, alleging that he “has been raping and sexually assaulting women dating back to the 1980s.”

“Here’s what I can tell you guys for sure: every single venue Derrick May has been booked at, someone has a story about his sexual misbehavior,” James continues. “Like it has been alleged about Morillo, Derrick May developed a pattern that also involved using date rape drugs on women. In Morillo’s case, his drug of choice was ketamine. I’m told May used something in the same class.”

Some have mentioned that James might have a grudge against May for not crediting him on his most popular song, “Strings of Life,” which is based on a piano sequence by James. However, he replied to one person on Facebook, “I’m already in the credits for Strings of Life. Don’t you know that?” His name does not appear in the credits on Spotify.

James has also been admonished himself for how he treated DJ/journalist Ashleigh Lauryn and made public a private conversation with her, which she describes in her own words here.


OK, so a few brave female DJs have come out and told stories of their harrowing experiences of sexual molestation at the…

Posted by Michael James on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Nevertheless, May’s name has been popping up on techno Twitter for the past week.

At time of publishing, Derrick May’s Twitter is private and he has not made any statement or response to Your EDM’s knowledge. He performed yesterday on a Beatport charity stream for Beirut.

A lawyer for May responded to Your EDM’s request for comment, stating: “The accusations by Mr. James are patently false. Derrick May is in the process of taking the appropriate legal measures against Mr. James.”