Multiple people have come forward with misconduct allegations towards members of other well-known bands since Jesse Lacey of Brand New was accused of sexual misconduct –including preying on minors– by multiple women on Facebook and Twitter late last week. Lacey and Brand New subsequently released this statement, which fails to deny preying on minors but does very clearly state he is “sorry” that, “often I have not afforded women the respect, support, or honesty that they deserved, and which is their right. I believe in the equality and autonomy of all, but in my life I have been more of a detriment to these ideals than an advocate.” Lacey also includes other equally horrible admissions, including serial cheating and using his fame to manipulate fans to fuel his alleged sex addiction.
Not long after, With Confidence’s Luke Rockets was also accused of having inappropriate relations with an underage fan. Within hours, With Confidence announced they had removed Luke Rockets from the band and issued the following statement:
Late last night an allegation came to our attention about our guitarist Luke Rockets. Luke Rockets is no longer a member of With Confidence. We are passionate about music being a safe space for people of all ages and are extremely disappointed and disgusted. We had absolutely no idea this had happened. This sort of abuse of power has been all too prevalent in today’s industry. It is in these circumstances that people need to be completely stripped of that power and held accountable for their actions. We support and have endless respect for the individual who has come forward and ask that everyone respect their right to privacy. Unfortunately we will not be able to complete the remainder of our US tour. We apologise but ask for your understanding. We will continue to do whatever we can to support and empower all those who have supported us.
Jayden, Josh, and Inigo
More often than not, once a statement is issued acknowledging wrongdoing, the floodgates open as victims who were previously afraid to speak out realize they are not alone, ushering in a new wave of accusations. Since With Confidence’s statement, other people have come forward with allegations against Rockets, including an unnamed Twitter user a who published an anonymous account which you can very easily find on Twitter by searching “Luke Rockets,” including graphic screenshots.
My experience with Luke Rockets
— x (@anon983) November 14, 2017
Likewise, following Brand New’s statement, a second woman has come forward alleging Jesse Lacey exploited her as a minor, which was reported by Pitchfork earlier today.
Situations like these beg the question: what can we do to ensure artists are held accountable when they abuse their influence? And, what about those who enabled them– shouldn’t they face consequences as well? It’s hard to imagine that band members are unaware of the predatory patterns of their-whatever word-even if they cannot be expected to know all details or instances. And, time and time again, no one does anything stop to abusive behavior until allegations are made public. Jesse Lacey is a great example– the now-deleted original post (screenshot below, via google) that spurred initial accusations was posted on Facebook by a former guitar tech for Brand New. It’s not really a stretch to guess that other folks were aware of Lacey’s actions, even if they’ll never admit it.
Unfortunately, even when accusations towards artists are proven true (via admission or otherwise), it is rare for perpetrators to face consequences. The immediate removal of Luke Rockets from With Confidence is honestly surprising given how other alleged predators have been treated in the scene. Even after Lacey’s own confession of misconduct, Brand New has not kicked him out of the band, waiting several days to postpone their upcoming tour dates rather than outright cancelling them. Even worse, some Brand New fans are still vehemently defending Lacey, instead blaming underage victims for the actions of much-older predators. It is clear that fans struggle to accept the reality that their idols are capable of doing wrong, but at some point a line must be drawn. It is indefensible to allow men with multiple accusations of misconduct access to the fans (which include women and minors) they can easily exploit and mistreat.
It’s not just underage fans that suffer the consequences of unchecked influence. Take Jonny Craig (of Slaves, formerly in Emarosa, Dance Gavin Dance), for example. There is no shortage of screenshots and firsthand accounts of Craig’s blatant misogyny and mistreatment of women. I can personally attest to watching him verbally harass then kick his now-ex gf off the side of the stage at a show in St. Petersburg, Florida a little over a year ago. As of yesterday, three of his most recent exes (including the one I previously mentioned) have all taken to twitter alleging the horrors they encountered while dating Craig. Yet despite this very public trail of accusations, Craig still has a label and career with minimal (if any) repercussions. Fans often write off these allegations as a byproduct from Craig’s past heroin addiction, but the patterns appear to have continued into sobriety. Craig himself said he was off heroin the night I saw him kick his ex-girlfriend off stage. And, let’s not forget when Craig’s band Slaves was kicked off Warped Tour in 2015 after Craig allegedly assaulted a merch girl. This is clearly a pattern of misconduct towards women, and a well-documented one at that.
— raine (@chelsearaine) November 14, 2017
The music scene has had a problem with misogyny, sexual assault, and predatory behavior for YEARS. Growing up, I can’t even tell you how many times men who were much older were inappropriate with me or other clearly underage fans at shows. At fifteen, it’s easy to think you’re all “grown up,” and I was no different. Looking back, I am genuinely horrified by the way older men took advantage of teenage fans like myself. As allegations of inappropriate conduct from band members continue to surface, I have little difficulty believing them because I’ve witnessed and experienced it myself. Between grown men hitting on underage women and blatant misogyny on and off stage, the scene has regularly failed women. Not much has changed over the years; the only difference is that now these accusations are offered a public platform via social media, forcing folks to actually pay attention. It is long past time to prioritize and protect fans from predatory people in the music scene– ESPECIALLY the ones who have the influence and power to easily manipulate and abuse.
As I type this, accusations about other prominent musicians continue to surface. As they do, we must continue to do our best to support the survivors coming forward. It is an incredibly brave and difficult thing to do, especially since victims who speak out are often further targeted and mistreated online. As a community, we must constantly demand that those responsible for abusing or exploiting fans are exposed and held accountable. Whether misconduct occurred fifteen years ago or yesterday, predatory and abusive behavior should not and cannot be tolerated.