Stories of sexual assault are continuing to come into the light. In one of the latest developments, a former Rolling Stone employee, Johnathan Wells, claimed he was assaulted by the magazine's founder, Jann Wenner.
In an exposé on BuzzFeed, Wells explained that he was eager to get into the book publishing business when he became friends with Wells in the early '80s. The two would often hang out at Wells' apartment which seemed to be a 24/7 party-house laced with alcohol, cocaine lines, and at one point, a prostitute. But it was one fateful night that Wells said Wenner took too far.
“I was lying back and he put himself on top of me,” said Wells. “He was kissing me, but you know, normal stuff, kissing my chest. I remember him putting his penis in my mouth. I remember him sucking me, going down on me. I remember his hair on my stomach.” Wells said that Wenner couldn't get an erection and eventually fell asleep which is when Wells left.
“I got my clothes and just tore out of there and ran home and showered,” said Wells. “I was terrified he was going to catch me."
Wenner has a different recollection of the events and says he believed it was all consensual. "I am completely surprised by these allegations, as we have remained friends for almost 35 years since then,” said Wenner in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “I sincerely believed our relationship was totally mutual and consensual — absolutely, and without question. I am saddened to hear this is his memory of that evening, because it is different than mine."
After the encounter, Wells said the two began to have a sexual relationship until Wells came to the realization that he is not gay. Wells also landed a position as director for Rolling Stone Press at the time. But after rejecting Wenner's advances, he was fired in 1985.
“I did not perceive it as retaliation at the time,” said Wells. “I don’t know if I was especially stupid or just I couldn’t understand the whole thing.”
If it was retaliation, it wouldn't be the first time Wenner's been accused of using sex to give or take away a job. In another BuzzFeed piece, journalist Ben Ryan claims that Wenner offered him a job at Rolling Stone in exchange for sex in 2005. Wenner ultimately declined and felt "totally grossed out" after Wenner allegedly made advances on him.
According to BuzzFeed, it's the recent (and numerous) sexual assault allegations that inspired Wells to tell his story.