Rapper Octavian denies allegations of verbal, physical and emotional abuse

Ex-girlfriend Emo Baby claims on social media that the musician pressured her to have an abortion and threatened to kill her

Octavian.
Octavian. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images
Octavian. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images

Last modified on Thu 12 Nov 2020 13.07 EST

French-British rapper Octavian (AKA Octavian Oliver Godji) has denied allegations of verbal, physical and emotional abuse made by a former partner.

In a series of posts on Instagram and Twitter, his ex-girlfriend, a musician known as Emo Baby, said she had been in a relationship with the rapper for three years. She claimed that he first physically abused her in April 2020 when she became pregnant with his child. “After pressuring me to get an abortion, he attacked me for the first time, kicked me in my stomach, burst my lip, attacked me with a hammer and threatened to kill me,” she wrote.

She shared screenshots of messages between the pair following the alleged attack in which Octavian described his actions as “bad karma”. She said that she was later asked but refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the alleged incident in exchange for £20,000.

She posted a video that she said showed Octavian attacking her. In the shaky footage taken inside a kitchen, a man can be heard saying, “You’re fucking disrespecting the shit out of me” as a woman cries and pleads with him to stop hurting her. In a second video, the rapper can be seen saying that he will “beat the shit out of you cos you won’t get out of my house”.

Posting on Instagram stories, Octavian accused the woman of lying and characterised her allegations as “real life abuse”. He said that she had waited to share her allegations until the day prior to the release of his debut album to “ruin my life”.

He said he would soon post “evidence” that the woman is “obsessed and will never let me alone or let me win”. He also said that he would post “evidence” that the videos showed him “trying to get my phone to book an Uber to leave”.

His statements contradict posts he shared when the woman’s allegations first surfaced earlier this year. Then, Octavian posted on Instagram stories that he “did some bad things out of anger and frustration, I participated very provoked in abuse”. He described their relationship as toxic and said: “As a man this is completely wrong. I hate myself for what I’ve done.” He later posted that she had manipulated him and used allegations of abuse for “clout”.

His label Black Butter, who were due to release his album Alpha on 13 November, said the have “taken the decision not to continue working with Octavian and we will not be releasing his album. We do not condone domestic abuse of any kind and we have suggested Octavian seeks professional help at this time.”

Pattern Publicity, which had been representing Octavian prior to the album’s release, said in a statement that they had severed ties with the rapper: “After these allegations have come to light, we have stopped all work with Octavian as we cannot condone, nor support, abusive behaviour.”

In September 2020, Technique PR resigned from working with Octavian after hearing of his alleged abusive behaviour.

The woman said that guest stars had pulled out of appearing on Alpha as her allegations spread. A press release said that 21 Savage, Future, Skepta, Headie One, Teni, Gunna, Saint Jhn and more were due to feature on the record. The prerelease singles with Gunna/Saint Jhn and Skepta remain on streaming services.

The woman posted numerous photographs of cuts and bruises that she said were a result of Octavian’s physical abuse, and said that he controlled her Instagram account and her interactions with other people. “Eventually I wasn’t able to communicate with others without being put down or accused of being too friendly or ‘approachable’, which would result in punishment from him.”

She said she left the relationship after the alleged attack in April and started legal proceedings against Octavian and his associates; she said he “begged for me back”, apologised to her friends and family and attended two sessions of couples therapy. “After a few weeks, he refused to pay for the therapy and returned to his old habits; physical, violent and emotional abuse.”

She accused Octavian of being addicted to cocaine and using it as an “excuse for his behaviour or a reason for me to stick by him”. She said: “He would always resort back to abusing me – but the thing that disturbs me most is he would justify his behaviour by telling me ‘if I was a boy it would be so much worse’ or it is ‘deserved as nobody can disrespect or speak back to him’”.

She called out the “enablers” who had allowed Octavian to continue with his alleged behaviour. “There are a series of grown adults who were witness to my abuse over the years, and not only allowed it to happen but sought to cover it up because of the privileges and lifestyle they were enabled by maintaining Octavian’s image.”

The woman said that she had filed a police report and that she was in a different country for her “safety and wellbeing”. She said she shared her allegations prior to the release of Octavian’s album because she didn’t want anyone to look up to him. She said his record contained a song called Rocks Smiles about “two men attacking me” and how he wants to “kill me for telling everyone what he has done”.

Her allegations drew support from pop star Dua Lipa who posted on Instagram contact details for domestic abuse allegations and details of how to support abuse victims with the caption: “Fuck Octavian.” BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Tiffany Calver called the woman “a warrior” on Instagram, where British rappers Iamddb and Chlobocop and singer Rachel Chinouriri also gave her their backing.

In 2019, Octavian won the annual BBC Sound of … poll that tips artists for major success. Signed to Black Butter records, a subsidiary of Sony, he has released two mixtapes and an EP, and collaborated with artists including Gorillaz, Skepta, Diplo and Mura Masa, and received early support from Drake. Emo Baby released her debut, self-titled EP this year.