PWR BTTM’S Tour Falls Apart Amid Accusations of Sexual Abuse From Chicago DIY Community
Ben Hopkins, 1/2 of renowned punk group PWR BTTM, has been accused publicly of sexual abuse. Now, the group’s music has been completely pulled from digital outlets by their record label and is no longer widely available. The situation has unfolded to the point of putting an entire stop to their career until the band addresses it fully.
A post on private Facebook group DIY Chicago cited personal accounts of people witnessing the singer making inappropriate advances on people during shows and generally violating norms of consent, followed by a picture of the singer next to a Swastika drawn in the sand, an image the group apologized for last year. The post was then followed by a series of personal messages, with the identities redacted, of more people coming out with personal stories of sexual misconduct by the musicians. These revelations caused a flurry of activity from the media, and has led to the group’s status being in limbo.
PWR BTTM cancelled their show in NYC once the accusations came to light and released a statement on their Facebook page addressing the issue. In it, the group takes an approach that doesn’t acknowledge the charges as true, but treats the issue in a manner where they are willing to hear any and all accusations directly and have the chance to resolve the issue. The group established an email address, which Hopkins will allegedly not have access to, that is meant for anyone that believes they have been assaulted by Hopkins to contact them and have a mediator resolve the situation.
The group closes the lengthy statement with, “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.” This would seem to indicate that the group’s activities will be on-hold until these issues are thoroughly resolved.
The news has already created some fallout for the group as their national tour has fallen into shambles, with every other musician involved backing out, many of them giving their opinions as to the validity of the claims. The most damning statement came from bassist Nicholas Cummins who stated on Twitter, “I'll say what I told Ben; while I will never dispose of them as a human, I fully believe all accusations that came up today. Regardless of their intent it's clear that multiple people had their boundaries crossed. that's incredibly unacceptable and needs to be acknowledged... I am deeply horrified by the thought of any role I may have played in doing harm to those people when playing with that band. All I can do is hope that the band does the right thing and pursues accountability in an honest and transparent way.”
Local sensation and Sooper Records co-founder Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, who was slated as an opening act on the tour stated, “Hey y'all. I'll no longer be opening up for PWR BTTM on this upcoming tour. It Fucking sucks for everyone involved and in light of the allegations I can't comfortably continue. I hope that truth is found/admitted and I'm incredibly disappointed at this type of shit continuously happening. I love all of you.”
These Days News will update our readers as more details emerge.