Recently, a whole slew of sexual assault and harassment accusations have popped up in Hollywood and the music industry. After the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many women have stepped forward to share their stories of making it in Hollywood which is littered with accounts of sexual harassment. And now, more and more fans of your favorite punk bands have also stepped forward.
Lead singer of pop-punk band Brand New, Jesse Lacey, was recently accused of child grooming (when an adult connects with a minor online, gaining their trust to eventually sexually exploit them). At the time of one of the incidents, Lacey asked 15-year-old Nicole Garey, to send him nudes over instant messenger. The singer was 30 at the time.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Garey said, “You’re flattered because [the singer of] one of your favorite bands is interested in you and nobody’s taken interest in you before.”
Lacey came out with a blanket apology for anyone he’s hurt, without citing any specific allegations. Brand New later announced they would cancel the rest of their tour.
This isn’t the first band to ever be accused or have a member sexually harass or abuse a fan, and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. With Confidence, another pop-punk band has also been dealing with their share of sexual misconduct allegations. Moose Blood ended up getting rid of their drummer back in May after he was accused of sending unsolicited nudes to a fan.
It’s gross and it’s illegal. So why do people keep supporting these bands when they know about these claims?
After Lacey released his statement, there was a multitude of reactions on Twitter. Some fans claiming they’ll never listen to Brand New again, but some who said that an apology was enough for them.
One fan tweeted, “The accuser was in contact with JL [Jesse Lacey] from 15 to 24. That’s 9 years. She could have walked away at any time. She chose to continue.”
Another tweeted, “I didn’t want to believe it but I guess it’s true. Fuck… Jesse, I lost so much respect for you. An apology because it became public is never the most sincere.”
Some people continue showing their unwavering support and some people who have decided that an apology isn’t and never will be enough. At the end of the day, Lacey sexually harassed two minors, and it seems like more than enough fans are perfectly fine with letting him get away with it.
But for any fans who think that a simple blanket apology makes everything okay, this is just a reminder that sexual harassment is so not punk rock.
So why do we continue to support these people? And why do we let them become president?
Blindly following a band or artist around, not taking into consideration what they’ve done to other people isn’t okay. Refusing to acknowledge someone’s wrongdoings for the sake of listening to their music isn’t okay. Minors were harassed, women were sent unsolicited nudes.
At what point do we start holding people accountable for their actions?
Punk is supposed to be an inclusive society, all of music is. It’s hard for people to feel included when bands someone once admired have harassed fans before.
Sexual misconduct is something that needs to be taken seriously. Next time you brush something off because, well, they apologized, remember that. Remember to make society as inclusive as possible, because sexual harassment isn’t punk rock, and neither is not holding someone accountable for their actions.