Exclusive: Neil Gaiman accused of sexual assault

Neil Gaiman has been accused of sexual assault by two women with whom he was in consensual relationships and is the subject of a police complaint in New Zealand. 

Gaiman’s position is that he strongly denies any allegations of non-consensual sex with the women and adds New Zealand police did not take up his offer of assistance over one woman’s complaint in 2022, which, he says, reflects its lack of substance.

However, New Zealand police said it made a “number of attempts to speak to key people as part of this investigation and those efforts remain ongoing”, adding that there are “a number of factors to take into consideration with this case, including location of all parties”. 

The allegations span two decades and concern young women who came into contact with Gaiman – the 63 year-old bestselling author of The Sandman, Good Omens, and American Gods – as a nanny to his child and as a fan of his writing.

listen to Tortoise’s four-part audio investigation

• Episode one: the bath

• Episode two: the WhatsApps

• Episode three: the pond

• Episode four: the fan

The women’s allegations were first reported in Tortoise’s podcast ‘Master: the allegations against Neil Gaiman’, released on Wednesday. The four-part series examines the women’s accounts of rough and degrading sex with the author, which they say was not always consensual. 

Although the vast majority of cases of sexual assault happen within relationships, most allegations go unreported, and therefore unprosecuted, because of the expectation that alleged victims would not be in a relationship with their alleged assailant. While the law says that consent is for each and every sexual act, many people assume that a relationship provides ongoing consent. 

Scarlett, 23, alleges that Gaiman sexually assaulted her within hours of their first meeting in February 2022 in a bath at his New Zealand residence, where she worked as a nanny to his child. Tortoise understands that Gaiman’s account is that they only “cuddled” and “made out” in the bath and that he had established consent for this. His position is that, over the three-week sexual relationship that followed, they only ever engaged in consensual digital penetration.

Scarlett alleges that within this otherwise consensual relationship Gaiman engaged in rough and degrading penetrative sexual acts with her. Tortoise has seen contemporaneous messages, notes, and spoken to friends who Scarlett talked to at the time, which supports her allegations.

The second woman, K, was 18 when she met Gaiman at a book signing in Sarasota, Florida in 2003. She began a romantic relationship with him when she turned 20, and Gaiman was in his mid-40s, but alleges that she submitted to rough and painful sex that “she neither wanted nor enjoyed.” In one incident she alleges Gaiman penetrated her despite her asking him not to as she was suffering from a painful infection. Gaiman’s position is that he denies any unlawful behaviour with K and is disturbed by her allegations.

Tortoise understands that he believes K’s allegations are motivated by her regret over their relationship and that Scarlett was suffering from a condition associated with false memories at the time of her relationship with him, a claim which is not supported by her medical records and medical history.

Gaiman is on Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Credited with bringing comics to a global audience, he has been called “the most loved living writer”. His writing has been adapted for Netflix and Amazon mini-series, Hollywood films, and West End shows. He delivered the last annual Tolkien Lecture at Oxford University and was selected to open the latest season of the Queen’s Reading Room podcast.


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