A woman who accused Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen and a member of his entourage of sexually assaulting her at a bar during Montreal’s 2015 Grand Prix weekend is now the subject of a police complaint from Raikkonen claiming harassment and extortion, according to reports. But the woman who made the allegations on her personal blog told Jalopnik her goal was to sit down and talk about the alleged assault with Raikkonen, and that she was “disgusted” with his apparent retaliation.
In a 2016 blog post, the woman—who requested that Jalopnik only identify her by Talula, one of her middle names that she goes by professionally—wrote that she was a bottle waitress at a Montreal bar in 2015 when Raikkonen and a man with him allegedly sexually assaulted her in the early morning hours after the Canadian Grand Prix. She did not name Raikkonen in the blog or in another blog from earlier this year, which have both since been made private on her site on the advice of her lawyers, she said.
The allegations against Raikkonen were first widely publicized last week, after reports in Finnish and Canadian outlets said Raikkonen filed a criminal complaint of extortion and harassment against Talula with Montreal police.
Montreal police have not responded to Jalopnik’s repeated requests for the complaint by Raikkonen, which details allegations from his camp. The department’s request form says, however, that if the requestor is “other than the plaintiff or victim, a written consent of the person concerned is required” to share the report.
Talula describes herself as a Montreal native, an artist, screenwriter and music video director who still bartends. She told Jalopnik she worked at the club in question for five years, quitting in September of 2015, and that she “love[d] that place” so much she got a tattoo relating to it. (Jalopnik confirmed via the club’s Instagram account that Talula was regularly referred to as a staff member there in 2015.)
Talula claimed in the 2016 blog that around 3 a.m., an F1 driver who appeared to her to be intoxicated and his entourage came downstairs into her area of the club. After denying advances from the then-unnamed driver, Talula claimed in the post, she said he motioned for her to come closer so he could tell her something. As she did, she wrote, he slid “his hand into [her] dress and grabbed [her] right breast.” At the same time, she wrote, one of his friends slid his hand “between [her] thighs and touched [her] pussy.”
Talula did not specify the alleged behavior of the other person she claims to have touched her. She published another post in February of this year, saying she hadn’t used the driver’s name in her blog two years earlier because she didn’t want to “cause [him] any harm.” The end of the post said she was “done protecting [him],” and that his “team had been notified” of that.
Jalopnik provided Ferrari with all of the claims and allegations included in this story before publishing. A Ferrari representative responded with a statement, which was, the rep said, “all Ferrari has to say on the matter.”
“Ferrari’s policies prohibit any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment,” the statement read. “When allegations of these sorts are raised with the Company, we investigate them thoroughly and, if proven to be true, take prompt and appropriate action.
“In this particular case the Company has carried out an in depth internal investigation. The inquiry has not uncovered anything that could support the allegation of inappropriate behavior.”
One of Talula’s lawyers, Ryan Eichler, said in a telephone interview that she came to their firm earlier this year for legal advising on her allegations. Eichler said after having discussions with Talula, his team tried “to handle the matter amicably and confidentially” with Raikkonen’s representatives.
After the second blog post in February and after discussions began between Talula and Raikkonen’s legal teams, Raikkonen filed a complaint with Montreal police claiming harassment and extortion. Under Canadian law, extortion is a criminal offense, defined as:
Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done.
Raikkonen’s complaint was filed last Monday and he’s being represented by a Montreal law firm, according to British Columbia newspaper Coast Mountain News. The newspaper said a member of Raikkonen’s legal team who asked not to be identified said Raikkonen denies the allegations in Talula’s post, and that he claims to not know her or to have touched her.
Talula’s other lawyer, Jamie Benizri, told Coast Mountain News of his and Talula’s position—that they were shocked and disturbed at the response from Raikkonen’s team, because they were mainly looking for an opportunity to sit down and “come to terms with what had happened.”
Benizri told the newspaper that no motions had been filed in court, and Talula confirmed to Jalopnik that she has not filed a lawsuit against Raikkonen. But the story talked about money being sought by Talula. From Coast Mountain News:
Benizri wouldn’t disclose the woman’s age or the amount of money being sought, but the representative of Raikkonen’s legal team described it as extremely high. [...]
But he pushed back against the allegation of blackmail, saying it was “a little more graceful than an offer to settle for cash.”
“What we were looking for was an opportunity to sit down, what we were looking for was an opportunity to come to terms with what had happened to my client,” Benizri said.
“Unfortunately, that was completely misconstrued and I think they jumped the gun to defend themselves or potentially thwart an imminent action.”
Benizri said his client will collaborate with investigators and provide her version of events to police. [...]
Raikkonen’s representative claimed the demands in April and earlier this month were “aggressive” with a threat to go public.
A source with knowledge on the matter told Jalopnik despite the “extremely high” comment and at least two reports saying the monetary demand was for seven figures, it was not. Talula also confirmed to Jalopnik that there was a compensation request for “pain and suffering,” but that her main goal was to open a dialogue with Raikkonen about the alleged assault, she said.
A Ferrari representative responded to Jalopnik’s request for comment on the complaint itself via email, declining to share the complaint and saying “a criminal case investigation is under way [sic] with the local authorities.”
The Ferrari representative said a representative for Raikkonen specifically contacted media in Finland about the police complaint, and sent an excerpt from a story via Finnish outlet MTV:
The Formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen has filed a criminal report about blackmail directed at him. According to information received by MTV News (MTV Uutiset), the criminal report was filed on Monday in Montreal, Canada.
- We have a situation in Montreal. This has been a long process, but now a criminal report has been filed, Sami Visa, Kimi Räikkönen’s affairs manager, tells MTV.
At this stage, Visa does not want to comment in any further detail on how Räikkönen has been blackmailed.
- No further comment.
Talula told Jalopnik she never intended to go public with her allegations about Raikkonen, because she knew there would be a “media circus” around it and that’s not what she’s used to dealing with.
“I [also] knew that he had a family and a wife, and he has this massive career, and I thought that it would be maybe more respectful and peaceful for both parties to kind of deal with this internally and deal with this between our lawyers—get an apology,” Talula said.
Eichler echoed that in a separate interview, and said his team thought it was “absolutely” possible to keep the situation from going public. That was their intention from the start, he said.
“Our client understood that she was going up against someone who was powerful, and she also understood that he had a family and a reputation, and her intention was never to tarnish or affect his reputation,” Eichler said. “But at the same time, she went through something traumatic and psychologically damaging, so she was seeking the closure that she deserved.”
Eichler reiterated that it was “it was absolutely not [his legal team] who went public, with anything.”
Eichler also said the only hard ask they had was the meeting between Talula and Raikkonen.
“That was the non-negotiable term,” he said. “Any compensation, when you make a request for compensation, 99 percent of the time it’s negotiable. So, any claim that were were asking for money and if not we were going to go public with it is absolutely false.”
But it did go public, and Talula told Jalopnik she figured that happened with the police complaint from Raikkonen and the public accessibility to it. Jalopnik has still not been able access the complaint, or even see a database listing showing that it exists—the only confirmation that there is police involvement has been from Ferrari’s F1 team. Montreal police have up to 20 to 30 days to give an answer to requests for copies of documents like this one, according to the department website, and Raikkonen apparently filed last week.
Talula’s posts are now password protected. In the first, which published in 2016, more than a year after the alleged assault, Talula wrote that the night of, she brought a large bill to the group the unnamed driver was with. When she did that, she wrote, the unnamed driver asked, “How much for you?”
After a little back and forth and denying of the advances, she wrote, the driver was mad and didn’t want to talk to her anymore. After an allegedly sober friend of his got involved and repeated the “How much for you?” remark, Talula wrote, she walked away, ranted to coworkers and took “a shot or two.”
When asked if Talula’s attorneys had hard evidence of whether Raikkonen was at the club she claims to have been working at that night, Eichler said he “can’t speak to any evidence that [he and his team] have or don’t have at this time.”
Talula claimed in the blog that the alleged assault happened when she came back to the table and the group “seemed amused [she] had returned.” She wrote that she went to her manager, and he asked what she wanted to do. What she could do “flashed before [her] eyes,” she wrote, but it seemed hopeless.
Talula wrote that she thought calling the police and telling her story, or pressing charges, wouldn’t go in her favor. She also knew the club wouldn’t want police coming to the party, she wrote, and that the cops would see she was drunk, look at her outfit and “label [her] a slut.”
Talula also told Jalopnik she’s seen how these kind of allegations often go down, and that she knew her character would be judged.
“I knew that given his status and given who he races for, I would be up against a billion-dollar industry, a man with fans, and an army of lawyers,” Talula said. “I thought, ‘I’m just not going to deal with it because I wasn’t raped.’ But that doesn’t mean that what he did wasn’t wrong, because it is wrong and people should not be allowed to get away with these kinds of things.”
Eichler said Talula’s intention wasn’t and isn’t to hurt Raikkonen, and that she “understands who he is and how important he is to the public and to a lot of racing fans.”
“That being said, people need to take a step back and look at it from the victim’s point of view right now,” Eichler said. “This whole movement that’s been going on right now with regard to sexual aggressors being brought to the public by their victims really gave her that courage to speak up.
“So, given the fact that this happened in 2015, a lot of people are not sure as to why she’s only coming out right now. She’s been given the courage based on everything that’s going on in society today. She’s finally gained that courage and really is seeking that closure that she deserves at this time.”
Talula’s blog post from February said she did not consent to being allegedly touched and that she showed her non-interest in the driver and his friend, but that she felt like no one would believe a bottle waitress’ allegations. It “really hit [her]” when she tried on a revealing dress for a waitressing shift at a New Year’s Eve party and changed, she wrote, out of fear someone may touch her.
“I’ve never been one to shy away from a revealing outfit,” Talula told Jalopnik. “I’ve always felt confident and fine. I worked at [the Montreal bar] for many years and I would wear very revealing clothing. I never was worried about someone assaulting me. I mean, obviously as a woman it’s in the back of your mind, but, I don’t know, I felt still conformable doing it.”
That hesitation she claims to have felt was when she wrote, emphasis hers:
I’m done protecting you. [...] And now I’m coming for you.
Talula said she had tried to reach out to Raikkonen since the alleged assault without a lawyer, messaging him on Instagram and going through Ferrari. When she didn’t get anywhere, she told Jalopnik, she got a lawyer. Jalopnik did not see proof of these Instagram messages, and Talula said she did not want to share the alleged emails with Ferrari due to the confidentiality statement at the bottom of them saying recipients are prohibited from “any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication.”
“[Ferrari] told me that they would take my allegations seriously, and then they came back at me with a letter saying that they did a thorough investigation and that it’s not true basically,” Talula said. “They didn’t ask me or anyone who had been working that night follow up questions, or any questions to begin with.”
The Canadian Grand Prix is the next race on the F1 schedule. Raikkonen, who is fifth in the points standings, will be back at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal this weekend.