Alanis Morissette is distancing from new documentary that claims she was raped at 15
"This was not the story I agreed to tell."
In a new HBO documentary about her album Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette has said that multiple men raped her at the age of 15 when she was a pop star in Canada and below the age of consent.
The Washington Post reported Morissette’s description of the attacks during the film. “It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part,” she says. “I would always say I was consenting, and then I’d be reminded like ‘Hey, you were 15, you’re not consenting at 15.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all paedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.”
Alanis Morissette did not identify her alleged abusers but says she did ask for help. “I did tell a few people and it kind of fell on deaf ears. It would usually be a stand-up, walk-out-of-the-room moment. … You know, a lot of people say ‘why did that woman wait 30 years [to report rape]?’ And I’m like, f*ck off. They don’t wait 30 years. No one was listening or their livelihood was threatened or their family was threatened. The whole ‘why do women wait’ thing? Women don’t wait. Our culture doesn’t listen.”
Then, hours ahead of the film’s premiere on Tuesday night at the Toronto Film Festival, Alanis Morissette criticised the documentary, saying it has a “salacious agenda” and “includes implications and facts that are simply not true.”
In a statement to Deadline, she said; “I agreed to participate in a piece about the celebration of Jagged Little Pill’s 25th anniversary and was interviewed during a very vulnerable time (while in the midst of my third postpartum depression during lockdown). I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent immediately upon my seeing the first cut of the film. This is when I knew our visions were in fact painfully diverged. This was not the story I agreed to tell. I sit here now experiencing the full impact of having trusted someone who did not warrant being trusted. I have chosen not to attend any event around this movie for two reasons: one is that I am on tour right now. The other is that, not unlike many “stories” and unauthorised biographies out there over the years, this one includes implications and facts that are simply not true. While there is beauty and some elements of accuracy in this/my story to be sure – I ultimately won’t be supporting someone else’s reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell.”
The documentary is not the first time Morissette has raised the issue of sexual misconduct in the music industry – she told The Sunday Times last year that “almost every woman in the music industry has been assaulted, harassed, raped. It’s ubiquitous — more in music, even, than film.”
Her statement is also not her first time speaking about her postpartum mental health issues; she spoke with SELF magazine about having postpartum depression after her first two pregnancies, and after the birth of her third child, she told the Table Manners podcast with Jessie and Lennie Ware that she dealt with postpartum depression again then too. “Basically, I’m not myself for two years,” she said. “I think the least amount of time it is is two years, probably more when it isn’t treated. It’s no joke. It’s hard to explain it unless someone has been through it too, it’s hard to put into words.”
Jagged is set to be released in the US via HBO on November 19 and follows Morissette’s life, from Canadian pop singer through to the release of her 1995 album Jagged Little Pill, one of the biggest commercial successes in the music industry which sold 33million copies worldwide.
Photography by @alanis.