Popular singer Ryan Adams took to Twitter recently in response to allegations that he emotionally, verbally, and—in some cases—sexually harassed women. Many of them were underage.
He has been known for helping young, female artists gain exposure on-stage and on social media. Several women have since come forward claiming that he threatened to take away his endorsement if they refused his sexual advances or that he offered a jumpstart to their career in exchange for sexual favors.
Actress Mandy Moore, Adams’ ex, has even said of his behavior, “Music was a point of control for him.”
The catalyst behind Adams’ apology is in the text exchanges between Adams and a 14-year-old female bassist. The two initially connected to talk about the possibility of a career for the young girl. However, the messages gradually became more and more explicit and eventually were exchanged for video calls, during which Adams exposed himself to the young girl—who was referred to as Ava, though this is not her real name.
Despite Adams’ knowledge of the girl being underage, he continued to communicate with her, telling her to keep their conversations a secret. Adams’ interactions with the girl eventually made her so uncomfortable that she quit music altogether.
She says, “It was just sexual power,” and that being objectified or sleeping with people to get ahead, “just totally put me off to the whole idea” of being a musician.
Even in the world of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” that has been previously used to shelter men in the music industry from accusations of sexual assault or harassment, Adams’ apology is not coming off very well on social media.
He wrote on Twitter, “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly. But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period. As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing.”
But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) February 13, 2019
His apology fell flat with audiences, who called out his use of the word “but” as overly defensive. In addition, his attacks against The New York Times’ reporting didn’t do much to help his image.
With both Adams’ backlash and the recent exposure of R. Kelly for similar behavior, it’s clear the #MeToo movement is still alive and well.
People need to keep speaking out against their aggressors, keep fighting against those who use their positions of power to manipulate others, and keep supporting those who have the strength to come forward.
Ryan Adams, and those like him, must face the consequences of their actions.
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