Ottawa punk band ZEX were unexpectedly thrust into the international spotlight earlier this week, after a pressing plant error landed songs from their latest LP Uphill Battle on the vinyl version of Beyoncé's Lemonade. Despite the uptick in name recognition, however, the band have now been dropped by their label amid sexual assault allegations.
Magic Bullet Records has severed ties with the band, citing "recent and ongoing accounts of alleged sexual assault" involving guitarist Jo Capitalcide and ensuing "routine boycotts" by promoters, venues and record stores as the reasons for the roster cut.
In an official statement released late Tuesday (September 19), the label claims that the decision was made after an account sent to the label yesterday corroborated first-hand information from singer Gretchen Steel about Capitalcide's behaviour in their open relationship.
Speaking to CBC, Capitalcide denied the allegations, calling them "completely untrue and hurtful."
Steel, meanwhile, told Pitchfork that she had never shared information about her relationship with the folks at Magic Bullet Records.
"I didn't talk to my label about any of this," she said. "I never corroborated any story, I never made any comments about any members of my band. This whole thing? Never happened."
Label rep Brent Eyestone told Pitchfork, "By Jo and Gretchen's own accounts to me, Jo would be cornered at every Ottawa show he attempted to attend and forcibly made to leave." (Steel dismissed that claim as "just personal issues of people not liking each other.")
He also provided screenshots of an alleged Facebook messenger conversation between himself and Steel, in which Eyestone revealed that a recent complaint alleging sexual assault "lined up" with a story Steel had shared about "Jo thinking that he broke that girl's pelvis."
Steel's alleged response reads, "He didn't actually break a pelvis. It was just a turn of phrase."
Magic Bullet is currently offering full refunds on ZEX album purchases. The label is will also be making donations to local Ottawa organizations RAINN and Cornerstone Housing for Women.