Published Oct 12, 2015Lou Reed was sometimes known for having a rather brusque public image, but now the late Velvet Underground star has been accused of abusing women on more than one occasion. These allegations come from biographer Howard Sounes, who apparently interviewed 140 of Reed's associates when writing the upcoming book Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed.
Bettye Kronstad, who was married to Reed briefly in the '70s, is quoted as saying [via the Daily Beast], "He would, like, pin you up against a wall. Tussle you. Hit you… shake you… And then one time he actually gave me a black eye."
Reed's school friend Allan Hyman, meanwhile, told a story of the songwriter hitting a girlfriend during dinner. Hyman said, "She would say something. He'd get pissed off at what she said and smash her around the back of the head. [My wife said,] 'Lou, if you continue to hit her, you have to leave.' And then he smacks her in the back of the head. So she said, 'Get out!'"
Sounes told the Daily Beast, "It's quite clear that he was a misogynist and he did hit women. They weren't all knocked about but he knocked his first wife about and he wrote repeatedly about violence towards women — he seemed absolutely obsessed with the subject." The author said that he liked Reed's music, but his interviews led him to conclude that that the Velvets leader was a "very unpleasant man" and a "monster."
Even some of those who didn't directly accuse Reed of abusive behaviour had less-than-flattering things to say about the singer. When Andy Warhol collaborator Paul Morrissey was approached about an interview, he called Reed "a stupid, disgusting, awful human being." Reed is quoting by an old friend as calling Bob Dylan a "pretentious kike"
Notes from the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed comes out on October 22 through Doubleday. It's available to order on Amazon.
Reed died in 2013 of liver disease. He was 71.