(CelebrityAccess) — Instead of basking in the success of their second studio album “Pageant” which was released on May 12th, the queer-punk duo PWR BTTM is dealing with the potentially career-ending fallout of sexual abuse allegations.
The abuse claims, made initially on a private Facebook page, but later spread via social media such a Reddit, allege that PWR BTTM’s Ben Hopkins is a “known sexual predator” and the “perpetrator of multiple assaults.” The alleged victim, who chose to remain anonymous, described the alleged assault to Jezebel’s Hazel Cills, stating that Hopkins made “aggressive advances” against her and started having unprotected sex without permission on multiple occasions, including while the alleged victim was asleep.
Since news of the allegations broke, the band has suffered multiple setbacks, including being dropped by their label, Polyvinyl Records, who issued the following statement: “There is absolutely no place in the world for hate, violence, abuse, discrimination or predatory behavior of any kind,” it read, in part. “In keeping with this philosophy, we want to let everyone know that we are ceasing to sell and distribute PWR BTTM’s music.”
As well, the band management, Salty Artists Management, dropped them as clients, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The assault allegations have also spilled over into the band’s tour and numerous upcoming concerts have been canceled, including shows in Minneapolis, New Orleans, Chicago, Providence, Toronto, Philadelphia, Orlando, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Durham, Los Angeles, and Seattle, as well as scheduled appearances at Hopscotch Music Festival and Bled Fest.
Criminal charges have not been filed against anyone in PWR BTTM. In a statement released by the band, the duo expressed their shock at the allegations and attempted to address them head-on. We’ve reprinted their full statement below.
Ben and Liv here. We want to respond to some very serious allegations that have been made against Ben. The allegations come as a surprise, but we are trying to address them with openness and accountability. With respect to the image included with these allegations, Ben previously addressed this matter on their/the band’s Twitter in January (https://ibb.co/dsNRRQ).
Unfortunately, we live in a culture which trivializes and normalizes violations of consent. There are people who have violated others’ consent and do not know. Ben has not been contacted by any survivor(s) of abuse. These allegations are shocking to us and we take them very seriously. Further, the alleged behavior is not representative of who Ben is and the manner in which they try to conduct themselves.
To address this matter head on, we have set up an email address through which a survivor or someone working directly with a survivor can discuss the allegations being expressed on social media: firstname.lastname@example.org We are currently looking for a mediator with the necessary qualifications. This will be the only person with access to the account. Ben does not have access to the account, for two reasons: 1) because we acknowledge that certain individuals will not feel comfortable establishing a direct communication link between themselves and Ben, and 2) to protect Ben in the event that a malicious party attempts to use the address for anything but its intended purpose.
Our primary goal here is to ensure that a survivor of abuse has a voice, that their story should be heard and that people who cross the line should be held accountable. What this means for the band, our album, our fans, and our upcoming tours is, as of yet, unclear. Music is everything to us, but we feel strongly that this matter needs to be addressed first. Updates forthcoming.