Note: This article contains descriptions of assault.
Arrow de Wilde, lead singer of the rock band Starcrawler, has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations regarding the Growlers. In a statement posted on Instagram yesterday (July 30), de Wilde wrote about an incident that she said occurred in January while her band was on tour with the Growlers in Australia. According to the statement, the Growlers paid for a male stripper, who de Wilde said assaulted her in a locked backstage room. She said the Growlers stood around her, filmed the incident, and laughed while she made repeated attempts to remove herself from the situation.
“After reading a lot of other terrible experiences girls had with them years ago, I wanted to write this to let people know that this shit is still happening,” de Wilde wrote. “While none of the Growlers band members assaulted me directly, they hired someone else to for their enjoyment.” Her Starcrawler bandmate Henri Cash told Pitchfork that he witnessed the immediate aftermath of the events de Wilde described. The Growlers’ lead singer and co-founder Brooks Nielsen has apologized for the incident in a statement today.
de Wilde wrote that at the end of Starcrawler’s performance at a show in Melbourne, she exited the stage while her band kept playing. “I entered the dressing room and was immediately ushered onto a couch,” she writes, adding that she “barely had a moment to catch my breath (drenched in sweat & fake blood), when all of a sudden a dude in a paramedic uniform bursts into the room.” She continued:
Soon after he bursts into the room, he rips off his uniform and music starts playing. I realized then, it’s a male stripper & begin to laugh as it honestly was pretty funny to me at first.
de Wilde added that her bandmates tried to get backstage, but the doors had been locked (a detail she found out later). “The stripper, giant muscles and all, grabbed me, put me in a chair, and started to give me a lapdance,” she writes. The humor faded pretty fast when it just wouldn’t end. I swear it went on for almost ten minutes.” de Wilde added:
Every time I tried to get up he pushed me back down. It started to feel more and more degrading as each layer of clothing peeled off his body, the Growlers just continued to laugh and film the whole thing. Soon he was down to a speedo and I knew where it was headed.
I closed my eyes and put my hands over my face as I felt his bare dick and balls rubbing and pressing against my chest and face as he continued to hold me down. I started to feel really panicked. My heart was beating so fast. I’ve never seen a striptease like this before. Everyone in the Growlers were standing all around me, laughing and taking videos the whole time, no one ever stepped in. Once it was finally over, I ran to the bathroom to collect myself (aka cry) and wash the dick off my face. Everyone was still laughing and rewatching the videos to see my facial expression, talking about how “shocked” I was.
Arrow de Wilde said she was told that the incident was orchestrated by Brooks Nielsen and cost the band “a few hundred bucks,” calling it “a pretty expensive joke.”
Starcrawler guitarist Henri Cash corroborated de Wilde’s story in a statement to Pitchfork. “Everything Arrow said in her statement is true,” Cash wrote. “We were locked out on stage but, after pounding on the door, we were able to get into the room and saw a naked man standing over Arrow. Arrow was very upset and told me the whole story right after in the bathroom. We were all shocked and horrified and didn’t know what to do.”
Today, Brooks Nielsen, addressed Arrow de Wilde's statement and issued an apology in a statement posted to the band’s Instagram. “I apologize for my actions, and for any band members, that have hurt, offended, or damaged any person or made anyone feel less than 100% safe,” Nielsen wrote. “I take full responsibility and accountability for the behavior of all Growlers’ band members, past and present.” Nielsen also announced that co-founder and guitarist Matt Taylor is taking temporary leave from the band and that he would be working to raise "awareness and as much money as [he] can" for women's support organizations.
In recent weeks, anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct have been levied against the California garage rock label Burger Records’ artists and employees. The label folded entirely as musicians including Nobunny, Part Time’s David Loca, and SWMRS’ Joey Armstrong have released statements addressing allegations of misconduct.
The Growlers, who put out records on Burger, have faced additional anonymous allegations of misconduct. The band released a statement on Instagram on July 21, denying some allegations and announcing plans to “look into” others; that statement, viewed by Pitchfork, has since been deleted. That same day, the Growlers keyboardist Adam Wolcott Smith announced on Instagram that he’d quit the band. The next day, Smith wrote on Instagram, “I’m not innocent in abuse,” and admitted to an incident of sexual assault. Both of those Instagram statements, viewed by Pitchfork, have also been deleted.
You can read Arrow de Wilde's statement and the Growlers' Instagram response in full below.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line
http://www.facebook.com/crisistextline (chat support)
SMS: Text “HERE” to 741-741
Ed note: This article was updated on Friday, July 21 at 7:20pm.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork