Another one. This time, it’s Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey.
(CW: sexual harassment).
[Update: read Lacey’s response here].
It seems that with each passing day lately, more and more Hollywood stars are outed for their sexual misconducts and gross harassment of those deemed beneath them in the vapid hierarchy of Hollywood culture. Even when some individuals take ownership of their transgressions – such as Kevin Spacey did recently or what with Louis C.K. fucking finally addressing his own issues after years of rumours and previously denying them – it’s a hopeful yet also very saddening time for the movie industry. Saddening because we now see so many of our heroes fall from the esteemed graces we’ve perceived them to be in, but hopeful in the sense that the film world can remove the skeletons in its closet, make some form of amends, have an open dialogue about how it handles such matters, and ensure that moving forward a higher standard is withheld.
However, as I shouldn’t have to remind anyone, the music industry isn’t all that different, sadly. Especially now with the recent accusations of sexual misconduct with an underage girl levelled against Brand New frontman, Jesse Lacey from when he was 24-years-old.
Now, I’m sure most of you have seen the Substream Magazine article floating around the web and your social media feeds by now (and if not, that a whole host of other similar articles). But for those who are unaware, here’s a recount of the who, the when and the how.
These allegations against Lacey originate from a recent Facebook post made by Guns N’ Roses/Fall Out Boy and supposed former Brand New guitar tech, Brian Diaz, earlier in the week (a post that has since been taken down). In his Facebook post, Diaz raised the not widely well-known yet still nasty rumours surrounding Lacey and asked if some people might come forward to talk about their experiences with the much-loved frontman. One woman, Nicole Elizabeth Garey (who is now 30-years-old), came forward about her experiences with the singer from when she was a teenager. After that comment, she then exclusively recounted her experiences with the Brand New member to Substream.
Now, it’s probably lazy of me to merely copy and paste her telling below, but this isn’t about me, KYS, you, nor anyone else – it’s about her story and her supposed experience with the singer. Ergo, here’s what Garey herself had to say Substream:
”He solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24. Manipulated the hell out of me, demanded specific poses/settings/clothing, demeaned me, and made it clear that my sexuality was the only thing I had to offer. He knew what he was doing was shitty so he wouldn’t touch me until I was 19. I should’ve known better by then, but he had screwed me up so much psychologically that all I wanted was his approval. It fucked me up to the point that I STILL have nightmares and wakeup in a sweat. I still breakdown and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar.
Oh and yes he made me watch him masturbate on Skype. Apparently, that’s a common thing with sexual predators. I took screen shots at some point, they’re probably on a computer in my basement if I ever really wanted to rehash my past that much (I don’t think I do).”
Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until I was around 25 and had spent some time in rehab. It’s still hard for me to write this or re-read it and not say “I thought I was smarter than that.” I know deep down that it’s more complicated, but it’s just gut-wrenching to even think about. How did I allow that to keep happening? Why didn’t I speak up sooner? I was a kid, but like all teenagers, I thought I was an adult. I was very wrong.
I never wanted to come forward because it didn’t seem bad enough and it wasn’t physically violent, but sexual abuse comes in different levels and forms and all of it is unacceptable. It has taken years for me to realize the extent to which his actions have harmed me, and continues to harm me, especially now that I have a daughter of my own. I spent years in denial, I tried to drink it away, I tried to run to different cities, but it always followed me and it always will. I wish him no harm, but I hope that some day he can see the effects of his behavior and make a change for the sake of our children.”
Dishearteningly, Garey also informed the outlet that she’s tried to tell her story before now, both to her friends and to those that she felt that could trust with such a personally painful topic. However, her confessions only lead her to lose friends and relationships. And I think that if you ever wanted proof as to why victims rarely come forward, here’s why; fear of rejection, ostracization, and having bridges get burned through no real fault of there own.
At the time of this piece going live, Brand New nor Lacey himself are yet to make a statement on the issue. Of course, these are serious accusations that will have ripples in not only the singer’s personal life but also in the lives of his three bandmates in their supposed 11th hour as a group. Personally, I’m in the boat of people now waiting to see if this is investigated further and what kind of action or statement from the accused comes. If anything further happens at all. That being said, and while I’ve never been a super fan of their music, listening to Brand New after this will carry an air of bitter distaste and hurt unless Garey’s telling can be proven otherwise.
Also, in other somewhat related news, Say Anything frontman Max Bemis has stated that he has now retired the band’s song ‘Wow, I can Get Sexual Too’ due to these recent accusations coming to light. (Maybe not the best timing, but I suppose it’s the thought and self-awareness that counts his decision).