Alexa Nikolas is a nervous hostess. While this isn’t the successful actor and vocalist’s first time hosting this type of gathering in Los Angeles, it’s that the nerves never quite go away, she says.
Wearing a cream-colored sundress that falls just above the knees, she has the perfect attire for a summer garden party. But this is no such thing. Instead, Nikolas and the young crew she has assembled are in the streets of L.A., demonstrating outside the offices of Freedman and Taitelman, LLP as part of a grassroots movement that she launched over the summer.
Nikolas is leading the burgeoning movement that she’s named Eat Predators. Its logo features a pair of full, red lips chomping on the hand of a white man; for Nikolas, this is precisely the demographic of the alleged and accused predators she says have infested the entertainment industry.
Eat Predators has the lofty goal of ending sexual assault in the music industry. The movement’s means is holding music management companies and record labels responsible for adequately investigating accusations against their artists. Its first public protest was a small gathering at a July 11 pop-up concert featuring the artist Diplo, who faces allegations of rape; since then, Eat Predators has grown in size while finding alliances. The demonstrations outside the offices of the accused grow larger at each event and now Nikolas and the rest of the Eat Predators activists have had direct action events at a variety of L.A. locations—from the Freedman and Taitelman offices to the headquarters of Sony. They recently made headlines with a direct action event outside of Nickelodeon—the network has already attracted criticism following the release of former iCarly actress Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, about her life as a child actor.
“A lot of organizations can be cults. It can be the music industry.”
Eat Predators has attracted survivors and supporters alike from all walks of life. More recently, members of the successful Free Britney movement have found their way into the sphere, having been drawn to the group by their goal of turning attention to and ideally changing the way the music industry treats young women. Free Britney protestors, decked out in bubblegum pink gear, dot the scene at many of the Eat Predators rallies.
Alongside Nikolas, Caeli Higgins and Sochil Martin are two of Eat Predators’ cornerstones. Higgins, who, like Nikolas, has industry ties, has been to nearly every Eat Predators protest, while Martin doesn’t come from the world of arts and entertainment but has found solidarity with others in the movement.
For many members of Eat Predators, the legal system has led them to dead ends in each’s fight against their alleged groomer. But the movement itself has cemented itself as another outlet for their activism, as well as a way for them to forge friendships to help work through trauma.
Nikolas is the founder of Eat Predators and its driving force. Each protest so far has primarily been organized by her to target specific groups or individuals.
The group gathered outside the offices of Freedman and Taitelman in August specifically to raise awareness around the alleged practices of attorney Bryan Freedman. Freedman is a powerful lawyer who has represented many famous clients—including actor Gabrielle Union, who is an outspoken rape survivor. But Nikolas insists Freedman representing Union is deeply problematic, as he has been accused of sexual assault; the allegations against him stem from an encounter during his time as a student at UC Berkeley in 1985. On top of this, Freedman also represents artists who have been accused of sexual assault, like Diplo, and Canadian electronic artist Michael Milosh—Nikolas’ ex-husband and the man she has publicly accused of abuse.
“If there are lawyers with past sexual allegations, I think if they’re going to represent survivor clients, survivors deserve full disclosure,” Nikolas tells LAMag.
Naturally, Nikolas’ connection to the contentious and emotional topic is deeply personal. She’s been involved in the entertainment industry since she was a child—at the age of 12, she gained prominence when cast as Nicole Bristow on the hit Nickelodeon series Zoey 101. Her experience with what she says was grooming began not long afterward. At 16, Nikolas reached out to Milosh via MySpace to ask for his upcoming tour dates. She says he responded by asking for her phone number, and the two began to communicate frequently. He was 33.
According to Nikolas, Milosh asked several times for the two of them to meet up while she was a minor, but she declined. They finally met in person after she turned 18. They were married by the time she was 19.
After a marriage in which Nikolas says she suffered from abuse, the two separated in 2016. Their divorce was finalized in 2019, but not without a long and arduous process, Nikolas says.
The mediator in their divorce was arranged by Milosh’s management company at the time, Red Light Management, Nikolas says. After some discussion, the mediator—Tara Scott—encouraged her to sign a draft of the stipulated judgment, she claims. Nikolas says Scott told her that the judgment included all the terms she and Milosh had come to in their negotiation process. But there was a telling detail in this process—according to Nikolas, Red Light Management was CC’d on the draft in the email she received [this was verified by LAMag]. Nikolas chose to sign the judgment anyway, eager for her divorce to be finalized.
When contacted for comment by LAMag, a representative for Red Light Management said the company had no involvement with choosing the mediator or the substance of the divorce proceedings other than a staff member helping the parties with logistics around scheduling meetings and filing documents.
In March 2021, Nikolas took to Instagram to publish an open letter to her ex-husband, in which she publicly detailed all of her allegations against him. She has since gone on to post more content about her story online, accruing hundreds of thousands of followers in the process.
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In an email to LAMag, a spokesperson for Milosh denied all the accusations laid forth by Nikolas and claimed that she and her lawyers were aware of the fact that the stipulated judgment, which she signed, prevents any legal action from moving forward. In response, Milosh has now filed a $10 million lawsuit against Nikolas’ lawyers for malicious prosecution.
“Milosh was forced to retain counsel and move to dismiss the lawsuit. Defendants did not even oppose the dismissal. They did not oppose it because they knew from the onset that they lacked any basis to assert a viable claim,” the suit filed by Milosh claims. “But Defendants filed it because they thought they could use the publicity to extort a settlement from Mr. Milosh. When that did not work, Defendants dismissed the lawsuit.”
Despite this legal dead end, Nikolas has channeled her trauma into a new outlet by launching Eat Predators. Michael Gray, Nikolas’ husband since 2021, encouraged her to start documenting her experiences from her relationship as part of the healing process. The effort was an attempt to make sense of everything that had happened to her and uncover inconsistencies between her and Milosh’s memories of that time, she says. She started writing an open letter to Milosh about her experiences in their relationship. But soon after, she became pregnant and decided to take a break to enjoy carrying her baby—that is, until she found out she was having a girl.
“That changed everything for me,” Nikolas says. “I started to question ‘What am I going to teach her? What do I know about being a woman?’”
So Nikolas dove head first into activism. Soon, Eat Predators was born.
Although Eat Predators primarily focuses on the music industry, survivors from all places are finding their way to the fledgling movement. All protest information is posted on social media, and Nikolas is eager to connect with fellow survivors—whether they were involved in the entertainment industry or not. Sochil Martin is one such woman.
Martin is currently suing La Luz del Mundo, a church that was allegedly rife with sexual abuse from several of its leaders.
Martin was born into the church, and according to her lawsuit, during her time there she was only allowed to leave the community to attend school. She was prohibited from participating in after-school activities or other extracurriculars, and the church instead kept her on a tight leash. She was forced to perform erotic dances for church leadership, she claims, and says she worked an estimated 30,000 unpaid hours for the church since the age of 16. Although her experience may not be the same as that of Nikolas, Martin sees similarities.
“A lot of organizations can be cults,” Martin says. “It can be the music industry.”
La Luz del Mundo did not respond to a request for comment on Martin’s claims when contacted by LAMag. In June, church leader Naasón Joaquin García pled guilty to sexual assault. He is currently serving 16 years and 8 months in prison; he also faces a forthcoming civil trial for crimes including human trafficking and forced labor.
Martin originally found Nikolas via a network of survivors. Over several lunches, their friendship blossomed and the two are like sisters now, Nikolas says.
For Martin, protests have become a family affair. While the entire Eat Predators family has her back, there’s also another familial element. Like Nikolas, Martin has a daughter. In fact, her daughter was outside the Freedman and Taitelman law firm that August afternoon. Sporting a pink baby tee and ripped denim jeans, she fit right in among today’s trendiest pre-teens. She’d even brought with her the family’s dog, who donned a pink dress with a tulle skirt.
Martin’s husband was there, too—he drove around the block, honking furiously in support of the gathering. Martin says she sees a lot of her and her husband in Nikolas and Gray. Tears begin to well in her eyes as she details her husband’s unwavering support throughout her ongoing recovery and the inspiration they have found in Nikolas and Gray. Not all survivors have partners who are so understanding, she says.
“Sometimes men get a little bit uncomfortable about having to face their wife’s trauma,” Nikolas says. “It’s very heavy, which is understandable, but both of our husbands actually show up and show physical support for both of us.”
Higgins initially connected with Nikolas via social media. When Higgins found her, she immediately admired Nikolas’s bravery in being so public about her experiences fighting abuse. Higgins reached out to Nikolas via direct message, not expecting much of a response from someone with so many followers (264,000 and growing). But to her surprise, Nikolas responded right away. The two quickly got to work.
Higgins has had ties to the EDM world for over a decade. She started out as a music blogger, eventually turning that into a PR career. When she first got involved in the EDM scene, it was small and tightly knit, she explains. That’s how she began her relationship with EDM artist Jasha Tull, who goes by the stage name Space Jesus.
The romantic relationship Higgins got into with Tull quickly went sour. Tull raped her twice, Higgins says. Then she says that their mutual friends didn’t believe her recounting of events.
“It really is like the wild wild west,” Higgins says of the music industry. “There’s no rules.”
Higgins decided to share her story on Twitter, but it gained little traction. A few years after the pair called things off, a series of women and girls began to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Tull. Higgins says she made multiple attempts to discuss these occurrences with Tull and his management, but they were mostly unsuccessful. Following those attempts, Higgins started an Instagram account called @evidenceagainstspacejesus, a collection of posts that were accounts of women who say they are survivors of the artist’s attacks and grooming; these are often in the form of tweets or direct messages on social platforms (the account has since been transformed into @musicindustrywatchdog). As Higgins’s page blew up, she was eventually served two lawsuits for defamation, both filed by Tull and his parents.
Tull was contacted by LAMag via his website but did not respond to requests for comment. In April, Tull posted on Instagram that everything between him and Higgins had been resolved.
In June, Higgins said she was offered an $80,000 settlement. She refused to sign it because it would have also required her to sign a non-disclosure agreement, she says, thus ending the lawsuit. But now, she faces another lawsuit, this time from Snails—a Canadian DJ whom she’s never personally met. After finding accusations of sexual misconduct against the DJ (whose given name is Frédérik Durand) online, Higgins made another Instagram account: @evidenceagainstsnails. Durand then filed a suit against Higgins for defamation. With the case taking place in Canada and Higgins not wanting to spend the otherworldly amount of money it would cost to retain Canadian legal representation, she is now preparing to represent herself in court. She’s confident in her ability to do so, which may stem from the fact her father is a legal man who worked at the New York Attorney General’s Office Labor Bureau as an assistant AG.
Durand did not respond to a request by LAMag for comment on what is shown in the @evidenceagainstsnails account or the lawsuit.
The stress of these lawsuits doesn’t seem to have slowed down Higgins’ activism— alongside Nickolas, she’s throwing herself into Eat Predators. The two women say they are now bonded by the harsh reality of experiences they shared as young women in entertainment.
“It feels like we’re creating a sisterhood—this really safe, supportive space,” Higgins says.
As Eat Predators continues to garner support, the group is assessing the many possibilities to grow its messaging—podcasts, zines, and even a documentary are all ideas being floated. With a movement so young, these women say they have hope for a better future.
At a protest outside Sony’s L.A. offices at the end of August, Nikolas took a second to survey the crowd. She’d brought along Nova, her now toddler daughter, who seemed to enjoy the bustle of the city. She wasn’t short on attention, either, with all of the Eat Predators protestors doting on her while allowing Nikolas to take time to rehearse for an Instagram Live and for Gray to take photos.
The motivation behind Eat Predators is for girls like Nova, Gray says. If she were to grow up and want to enter the industry, she should feel safe there, he says.
“I love this community Nova is getting to grow up around,” Nikolas says, taking a second to pause amid the crowd she brought together.
If Eat Predators does nothing else to transform the experiences of young women in Hollywood, Nikolas has at least built a community of support for people experiencing isolation while processing trauma.
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