Published May 11, 2017Right before the release of PWR BTTM's sophomore LP Pageant, the American queer punk duo have found themselves at the centre of allegations of sexual assault and antisemitic behaviour. Now, in the wake of the very serious claims, the band have spoken out about the allegations against the group's Ben Hopkins.
Taking to social media this afternoon (May 11), the duo of Hopkins and Liv Bruce explained in a statement that the allegations "come as a surprise, but we are trying to address them with openness and accountability."
The claims stem from a Facebook post reproduced via a private Facebook group called DIY Chicago, with the post attributed to a user named Kitty Cordero-Kolin alleging Hopkins is "a known sexual predator" and a "perpetrator of multiple assaults."
The claims against Hopkins from the poster read, "I have personally seen Ben initiate inappropriate sexual contact with people despite several 'nos' and without warning or consent, and in the last few months have heard stories of Ben talking crap about other queer artists for their gain, bullying other queer artists, making unwanted advances on minors despite knowing their age, and emotional abuse in relationships. Almost every single one of Ben's victims is queer."
Cordero-Kolin also made mention of a 2011 photo depicting Hopkins next to a swastika he had drawn on a beach.
As PWR BTTM point out in their own statement, Hopkins had previously addressed the use of the antisemitic hate symbol through the band's Twitter account earlier this year, saying "it was from a time in my life where I thought 'politically incorrect' was really funny and had literally no concept of my actions."
While not directly denying any of the allegations, the band wrote, "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."
In response to the allegations, the band have set up an email account through which "a survivor or someone working directly with a survivor can discuss the allegations being expressed on social media."
The duo have made clear that Hopkins will 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."
The statement continued, "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."
Pageant is set to see release tomorrow (May 12) through Polyvinyl/Big Scary Monsters.
Find the band's complete statement and posts of the allegations against them below.
friendly reminder to stop letting PWR BTTM use their status as "allies" to do whatever tf they want pic.twitter.com/ESbXur7zpx— mattfromcoastlines (@_mcampnh) May 11, 2017