The ‘Pageant’ is over early for indie-punk band PWR BTTM.
On Thursday, May 11, the group’s lead singer and guitarist, Ben Hopkins, was accused of a wealth of despicable conduct, including sexual assault, emotional abuse, anti-semitism and making unsolicited sexual advances toward minors.
In a Facebook post made by someone close to the band, Kitty Cordero-Kolin claimed to have “personally seen Ben initiate inappropriate sexual contact with people despite several ‘no’s and without warning or consent.”
These detrimental allegations could not have come at a worse time for PWR BTTM, whose second studio album ‘Pageant’ dropped on Friday, May 12 – less than 24 hours after the post gained traction across the internet.
Almost immediately following the record’s release, the band was severed from both their management company, Salty Artist Management, and record label, Polyvinyl Record Company. In response to the allegations, the label has chosen to halt any distribution of the record, offering refunds to all customers who purchased the album online. A statement from Polyvinyl made Saturday, May 13 reads as follows:
“Throughout our 20 years, Polyvinyl has purposefully operated on the core principle that everyone deserves to be treated with fairness and respect. There is absolutely no place in the world for hate, violence, abuse, discrimination or predatory behavior of any kind.
In keeping with this philosophy, we want to let everyone know that we are ceasing to sell and distribute PWR BTTM’s music. If you have ordered PWR BTTM products from Polyvinyl and would like to receive a full refund for your purchase, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We ask for your patience as we work to quickly process all requests.
We will be making donations to the following incredibly important organizations: RAINN (rainn.org) to support its efforts against sexual violence, and AVP (avp.org) to aid its programs against LGBTQ violence.
Our hearts go out to all victims of discrimination and all survivors of sexual violence.”
Both T-Rextacy and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, the musicians opening for PWR BTTM on the ‘Pageant’ tour, pulled out of their scheduled shows before the remainder of the tour was cancelled altogether.
Among all of the band’s recent losses, perhaps the most jarring is that of the collective respect and attention of their fanbase. PWR BTTM’s two core members, Hopkins and Liv Bruce, were previously adored by throngs of young, socially-conscious fans for being unapologetically quirky, queer and gender non-conforming artists who wrote cute, punchy and political rock songs that gave minorities both a voice and soundtrack. Now, it is these same woke former-fans that are enthusiastically helping tarnish the band’s reach.
Within days, PWR BTTM has felt the wrath of hundreds of scathing tweets, losing supporters who have chosen to stand honorably with the indigent. By swiftly destroying PWR BTTM’s career, critics are vying to keep creative safe-spaces safe and accepting, claiming a victory for victims of violence, discrimination and abuse.