All Time Low Call Sexual Abuse Allegations ‘Completely and Utterly False’

·3 min read
NV: iHeartRadio Daytime Village in Las Vegas - Credit: Daniel DeSlover/Sipa/AP
NV: iHeartRadio Daytime Village in Las Vegas - Credit: Daniel DeSlover/Sipa/AP

All Time Low have denied abuse allegations that have recently been made online, including on TikTok, that guitarist Jack Barakat sexually abused fans when they were minors.

“The allegations being brought against us are absolutely and unequivocally false,” the band wrote in a statement signed by all four members on Monday. “When a TikTok video gained traction a few weeks ago alluding to inappropriate behavior within our camp, we chose not to respond because of the glaring inconsistencies in the story and the apparent reluctance to mention us by name.”

More from Rolling Stone

“We felt that a response would have elevated and escalated an outright lie, and in doing so, robbed actual victims of abuse of their very real and very important collective voice,” they added. “We believe victims. We stand with victims. We have only ever wanted to cultivate and nurture a culture around our show and band that is welcoming, healthy, and safe.”

The TikTok video the band appears to be referring to was posted earlier this month by a woman who claimed that a famous pop-punk band invited her onto their tour bus when she was 13. She did not mention the band by name, but alluded to the band she was referencing in the comments.

On Monday, prior to the group’s statement, an anonymous woman accused Barakat of sexual assault while she was a minor, beginning when she was age 15 in 2011. She alleged the abuse continued over the course of the band’s 2011 tour and during subsequent tours and events. In 2016, she alleged one of his bandmates was a witness to her being sexually assaulted by Barakat. She claimed the last occurrence was when she was 21 years old.

The accuser said she tried to share her story twice previously but was “met with influxes of hatred from the masses” and was “threatened with legal action.” She added that in light of the #MeToo movement, she decided to share it again. Her Twitter account has since been suspended, but the story was screenshot in a Twitter thread before it was taken down.

“I now realize that I was being manipulated by a man who groomed me during a time when I was an emotionally vulnerable child,” she wrote. The incidents, which sometimes involved drugs, she said, led to an eating disorder, several suicide attempts, and other mental anguish.

“If you’ve had any experience even remotely similar to what I and others have had, I encourage you to find the courage to speak about this,” she concluded. “It’s not an easy thing to talk about, but it is a story that needs to be shared.”

In the band members’ statement, they called the allegations “completely and utterly false. We are investigating further the source of these false accusations, and will be seeking legal recourse as we take these allegations very seriously. With that in mind, we want to say again, we stand with victims and always wish to amplify the voices and stories of those who have suffered abuse and trauma. But we cannot and will not fuel or amplify lies that only cloud and distort the true stories of those who need to be heard and represented.”

Best of Rolling Stone