Boy George, born George O’Dowd, is a well-known English singer, designer, and author, best known as the frontman of the Grammy Award-winning band, Culture Club. However, his life was not solely filled with success and artistic expression. In 2009, George was convicted and sentenced to jail for 15 months for a violent episode that shocked his fans and the public.
The incident occurred in April 2007, when George falsely imprisoned a Norwegian model named Audun Carlsen in his London flat. According to court accounts, the singer invited Carlsen into his bedroom after a naked, cocaine-fueled photo session. George handcuffed Carlsen to a wall, and along with an unidentified man, beat him with a metal chain. This violent act was seemingly motivated by George’s belief that Carlsen had attempted to hack into his computer.
Despite the violence of the act, George insisted he did not harm Carlsen. Instead, he asserted that he only restrained Carlsen because he suspected him of tampering with his computer. The court, however, didn’t accept this justification, with Judge David Radford labeling George’s actions as “premeditated, callous, and humiliating.” George’s actions were further deemed to have shocked, degraded, and traumatized Carlsen.
The incident led to a significant blow to George’s career. His barrister, Adrian Waterman, stated that George’s behavior was comparable to that of a “drug-crazed idiot,” and that the incident’s impact would be “truly enormous,” affecting his ability to perform in countries like the U.S. and Japan, where he had a considerable fan base.
Despite George’s later claims that he was high on cocaine and experiencing a psychotic episode during the attack, and his attempts to seek treatment afterward, Carlsen continues to bear the psychological scars from the incident. As of 2023, Carlsen has described George as a “monster” and criticizes media platforms for continuing to feature him.