All Time Low Still Trying to Identify Anonymous Assault Accuser

On a "temporary 'burner'" social media account in October 2021, Jane Doe 2 accused guitarist Jack Barakat of years of abuse beginning when she was 15

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 12, 2024

When Avril Lavigne announced that All Time Low — the long-running pop-punk quartet from Baltimore, MD — would be opening for her on her world tour this year, my first thought was: did people forget about that whole ordeal with those anonymous social media accounts accusing Jack Barakat, the band's guitarist, of sexual assault, and the subsequent libel lawsuit?

The allegations came out back in October 2021, prompted by TikTok user @mini.grew's video overlaid with the text, "Me telling everyone how a famous pop punk band let me on their bus when I was 13 and people tell me how nice it was of them .-." and referencing multiple All Time Low songs in the comments.

Others then came forward with further accusations, including a Twitter user under the name @ATLstatement who detailed years of alleged abuse from Barakat beginning in 2011, when she snuck backstage at age 15. In December 2022, the social media platform was ordered to identify the accuser, known as Jane Doe 2, as part of the band's legal proceedings, with Barakat, frontman Alex Gaskarth, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson having called the allegations "absolutely and unequivocally false."

Their lawyer, Michael Garfinkel, was in court in Los Angeles this morning, having noted in the filings ahead of the hearing that both Twitter and TikTok had failed to identity the central accuser (Doe 2) in the case, Rolling Stone reports. He claimed that the accuser had used a "temporary 'burner' email account" to set up social media profiles, but IP address information associated with the accounts could be traced to two Panama-based companies: PacketHub S.A. and NordVPN.

"There's a reason why these companies go to Panama," Garfinkel said. "Their compliance is spotty. And we've tried a couple different ways of getting there, including direct contact with the entities, and they're going to make us jump every hurdle," adding that he was told by the US State Department that, using official channels, it could take up to a year to get the companies to comply with court orders.

Judge Daniel S. Murphy obliged the band's attorney's request for more time, setting up a follow-up hearing for November 13. The judge had said in a prior ruling that Doe 2 would need to be identified for All Time Low to proceed with their case, as freedom of speech does not extend to defamation. "Here, the complaint states a valid claim because it sets forth the exact statements alleged to be defamatory, alleges that they are false, and alleges that defendants made the statements with actual malice," Judge Murphy wrote.

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