Published Jun 14, 2017Austin Jones is a prominent YouTube celebrity whose a cappella covers of Twenty One Pilots, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco have made him a prominent figure in the swoop hair emo community. So much so, in fact, that Jones landed a slot on the 2015 Warped Tour. Now, however, he's been arrested on child pornography charges.
The 24-year-old web personality was arrested Monday (June 12) at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on two felony counts of production of child pornography. As the Chicago Tribune reports, Jones now faces 15 years in prison.
Jones allegedly coerced two underage female fans into sending him sexually explicit videos. According to a complaint, Jones was apparently aware of the girls being under age. One girl — identified as Victim A and who was 14 at the time of the incident in August 2016 — said that Jones asked her to dance in a sexually suggestive manner. He asked her to "make it clap super loud and talk about your age the whole time."
In a Facebook chat with underage Victim B in May 2017, Jones allegedly attempted to have the young girl remove her underwear on camera. Jones apparently said she was "so lucky" to have his attention, adding, "I'm just trying to help you! I know you're trying your hardest to prove you're my biggest fan. And I don't want to have to find someone else."
Though these are the first official charges laid against Jones, his inappropriate behaviour has been well-documented online. In 2015, a Tumblr post accused Jones of asking underage girls for twerking videos. That led to 10,000-signature petition demanding he be booted from the Warped Tour.
Jones was booted from the tour before it started, though not without some hesitation. In an interview with Alternative Press prior to kicking Jones from tour, Warped founder Kevin Lyman shared the following statement:
The word 'pedophile' is a strong, strong term.... While the world can be screwed-up at times, there is a criteria for things. In the court of the internet, people's lives are being dragged out in front of the world with no due process. People throw very strong words out onto the internet and when it is old news to them, it leaves a trail of destruction in other people's lives. This country was built on the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty.' Are we going to go back to this Salem witch hunt mentality? Communication needs to happen. I am actively encouraging that If women and girls feel they are being victimized, tell your parents, go to the police, talk to counsellors.... If you're not going to go to Warped Tour because of some perceived mob-mentality injustice, you should maybe volunteer at a non-profit that day.
Jones was charged today in U.S. federal court in Chicago. He will remain in custody until a court hearing on Wednesday.