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PWR BTTM lose management and record deals in wake of sexual assault accusations

By | Published on Monday 15 May 2017


PWR BTTM have been dropped by their management and their record labels in the US and UK, after sexual assault allegations against the duo’s Ben Hopkins emerged last week.

The accusations initially appeared in a closed Facebook group, a screengrab of which was then circulated around social media. Jezebel then spoke to a woman who said that she had been assaulted by Hopkins on more than one occasion.

The band responded with a statement, saying that “the alleged behaviour is not representative of who Ben is and the manner in which [the duo] try to conduct themselves”. They then invited anyone with allegations against Hopkins to contact the band through a newly set up email address – adding that they were seeking a mediator to have sole access to this account.

Following this, two members of PWR BTTM’s touring line-up, Cameron West and Nicholas Cummins, as well as support acts at the outfit’s upcoming US gigs – Tancred, T-Rextasy and Nnamdi Ogbonnay – all dropped out of the tour.

“I was shocked to discover that sexual assault allegations were levied against Ben Hopkins”, said West on Facebook. “From my understanding, these accusations were in fact levied via email months ago, but were left unshared with other members of the band, including myself. In order to provide the highest possible respect to everyone who has come forward, I am hereby ending my tenure with the band as an arranger and touring musician”.

Salty Artist Management also dropped the band from its roster on Friday, saying in a statement: “In light of the allegations involving members of PWR BTTM, Salty Artist Management will no longer be working with the band. We do not take these kind of allegations lightly and our thoughts are with victims and survivors of abuse who have been affected by this”.

This was followed on Saturday by the band’s US label Polyvinyl, which said in a statement: “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 behaviour 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”.

The label is offering full refunds to anyone who has purchased PWR BTTM releases on Poly Vinyl, and will be making donations to sexual violence prevention charity RAINN and LGBTQ violence prevention charity AVP.

Yesterday, the band’s UK label, Big Scary Monsters, also followed suit, saying: “The last few days have been extremely difficult for all involved but we believe that music should be a safe space and want to do all we can to protect those who are part of our community, especially the fans. It’s for that reason we will not be working with PWR BTTM moving forward”.

The company added: “It is important that victims and survivors of abuse know they have a support system in place whenever and however they need it. We will therefore be making a donation to Switchboard, an LGBT+ information, support and referral service, and our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected”.

PWR BTTM’s new album, ‘Pageant’, was released on Friday and currently remains available on retail and streaming services.