Queer punk duo PWR BTTM responds to allegations of sexual assault
Both members of the queer alt-punk duo PWR BTTM have responded to allegations of sexual assault against Ben Hopkins which saw them dropped by their management and label.
PWR BTTM was last week dropped by their management amid allegations of sexual assault against singer Hopkins.
Salty Artist Management announced in a statement on Facebook that they would “no longer be working with the band” after numerous allegations were made against Hopkins online.
One anonymous person described the singer as a “sexual predator”.
Another survivor told Jezebel that Hopkins “made sexually aggressive advances and started having sex with her without permission while also refusing to wear protection”.
After releasing a brief statement last weekend, now Hopkins has responded in full to the allegations levied against them.
In a long statement, they wrote: “What has transpired over the past several days has been emotionally overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. Last Thursday, I learned that an anonymous individual had made an allegation of sexual assault against me. This allegation was devastating to me as it is contrary to the intentional way I seek to interact with those around me. As I digested the allegations, I tried to figure out who the individual might be so that I could try to reconcile what I had read with my memory of any particular sexual interaction. I’ve waited to respond to the Jezebel article because the statements made about me by the anonymous source did not line up with any sexual experience I have ever had.
Going on Hopkins says they were “able to figure out who the individual was” after having conversations with fellow band member Liv Bruce.
They said he had a lengthy relationship with his accuser, saying: “I understood our interactions to be fully consensual” adding that “we continued to exchange texts, including as recently as March of this year. I had no indication before last week that she had any concerns about our interaction.”
Hopkins said that they acknowledge and accept the perspective of their accuser but contested what was set out in the Jezebel interview.
“The accusations in Jezebel directly conflict with my experience, as it is not my practice to engage in sexual contact without protection, without discussing the issue with my partner, or to engage in the other conduct alleged in the Jezebel article,” they said.
“That being said, in keeping with my commitment to my principles, I believe it is my responsibility to be accountable to this individual’s perspective and to honour it accordingly.”
“This is, again, incredibly shocking news to me, as the safety and well-being of PWR BTTM fans is the most paramount concern I have as a member of this band on and off the stage,” Hopkins added, addressing claims on social media about them being a “sexual predator”.
Bandmate Liv Bruce also released a statement saying they knew about the allegations against Hopkins some months before the went public.
Bruce said they had spoken to the accuser but that they did not want to reveal her identity nor did they know how to address the situation.
“After our conversation, I wanted to discuss with Ben the issues she had raised, but I quickly realized that doing so would inevitably reveal her identity,” Bruce said.
“I did not know how to proceed nor did I know where to seek advice about how to move forward. After Ben ascertained the individual’s identity on Friday, I decided that my withholding information was no longer protecting her privacy and I told Ben about the conversation she and I had.”
The band also jointly said that the act of them setting up an email address for alleged victims to come forward was wrong, as they were accused of shifting the responsibility onto survivors.
“We now see that we were putting the onus on others to do something that only works if it is what they want,” PWR BTTM said.
“We have concluded that there is no viable way to do what we were trying to accomplish, with the result that we are going to shut that email address down (we have not and will not look at any emails that may have been sent there to date).”
Ending, the band thanked fans, friends and family.
They did not mention their cancelled international tour or pulled album, but said: “We love playing music, we love sharing music with others and we want nothing more than to be back performing together soon.”