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Alex Calder responds to sexual assault accusations, after being dropped by label

By | Published on Thursday 19 October 2017

Alex Calder

Canadian indie musician Alex Calder has issued a statement, after it emerged last week that he had been dropped by his label Captured Tracks due to an accusation of sexual assault.

Calder’s second album was due to be released this week, but the release was pulled without warning last week and a launch show then cancelled. At around that time, Calder posted two now deleted tweets, saying “My turn” and “Bye bye!”

Clarifying its decision, Captured Tracks said in a statement via Facebook: “Recently, an allegation of sexual assault against Alex Calder has come to our attention. We have been working tirelessly to speak with all parties involved and are no longer working with Alex moving forward. We feel it is important to preserve the privacy of the third party involved, and therefore we do not feel it is our place as company to share any further details. We will not be proceeding with the release of his album, previously set to come out 20 Oct”.

Following his flippant initial response on Twitter last week, Calder returned with a longer statement on Facebook yesterday. In it, he admitted that he had sexually assaulted a woman in 2008, and that he now plans to take “a step back from any creative pursuits to start putting my energy into seeking counselling and attending consent training”.

“The intention of this statement is no way to gain sympathy or forgiveness”, he wrote. “I would like to address an incident that occurred in 2008 between an individual and myself, who will remain anonymous for their own safety and comfort. In the last year, I have come to understand the sexual encounter I had with this person was non-consensual and constituted assault”.

“At the time, I had thought that my actions were consensual and now understand that this was not the case”, he continued. “This encounter did not meet the criteria for getting consent. I abused this person, and I have not held myself accountable for this. I want to further express how completely sorry I am to this person for any shame, humiliation, or social isolation that they have experienced following my actions”.

Moving on to how he was able to avoid being held to account for the best part of a decade – seemingly not even realising that he might have done anything wrong during that time – he went on: “In part, I have been shielded and protected from accountability or consequence by a community and a culture, that has prioritised my narrative over hers for years. I am learning how my actions and negligence have traumatised this person and I would like to express how deeply, deeply sorry I am to them once again”.

Suggesting that it was his decision to cancel his album release, he added: “Several weeks ago, I made the choice to cancel all of my upcoming shows and agreed with my label to halt my album release. I have taken a step back from any creative pursuits to start putting my energy into seeking counseling and attending consent training”.

He concluded: “Being ignorant of consent is no excuse, and I would like to thank the people in my community and elsewhere for providing resources about this. This is necessary and overdue. I want others facing similar experiences to understand the importance of holding themselves accountable for their actions and begin educating themselves. Most importantly, I hope the person that I hurt can begin to heal and that we can collectively start believing survivors and addressing similar accusations very seriously”.

Elsewhere last week, Domino-signed band Real Estate revealed to Spin that they parted company with guitarist Matt Mondanile last year “when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention”.

At the time his departure was announced in May 2016, the band simply said that Mondanile was leaving in order to focus “on his own Ducktails project, a musical endeavour that predates his involvement in Real Estate”.

However, last week the band said: “Matt Mondanile was fired in February 2016 when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention. While we urged him to seek counselling at the time of termination, we are no longer in contact. We feel that any abuse of one’s power or status to victimise another is completely unacceptable. We applaud the courage of the women who came forward to make us aware so that we could address the issue head on”.

Speaking to Pitchfork, Mondanile has denied the accusations against him, saying that “There’s nothing I can tell you other than that I’ve done nothing wrong at all”. He has issued no public statement, despite further accusations coming to light.

Mondanile released a new Ducktails album, ‘Jersey Devil’, via his own New Images label last month. Domino has confirmed that it is no longer working with him, and since this news story broke he has been dropped by his Japanese label Plancha, and a number of upcoming shows in the country have been cancelled.