Record label Polyvinyl has announced that they will no longer be selling and distributing PWR BTTM’s newest album Pagaent amid disturbing claims of sexual assault made against singer Ben Hopkins.
Rumours have been circulating that Hopkins is a “known sexual predator, perpetrator of multiple assaults” alongside strong recommendation to boycott all their shows “U should avoid going to their shows/boycott their music/not allow them in safe spaces,” they wrote. “I have personally seen Ben initiate inappropriate sexual contact with people despite several ‘nos’ and without warning or consent.”
The band, quick to dampen the storm that was quickly engulfing them, released a statement to deny all accusations in statement on their Facebook page:
Ben and Liv here. We want to respond to some very serious allegations that have been made against Ben. The allegations come as a surprise, but we are trying to address them with openness and accountability. With respect to the image included with these allegations, Ben previously addressed this matter on their/the band’s Twitter in January.
Unfortunately we live in a culture which trivializes and normalizes violations of consent. There are people who have violated others’ consent and do not know. Ben has not been contacted by any survivor(s) of abuse. These allegations are shocking to us and we take them very seriously. Further, the alleged behavior is not representative of who Ben is and the manner in which they try to conduct themselves.
To address this matter head on, we have set up an email address through which a survivor or someone working directly with a survivor can discuss the allegations being expressed on social media: email@example.com We are currently looking for a mediator with the necessary qualifications. This will be the only person with access to the account. Ben does not have access to the account, for two reasons: 1) because we acknowledge that certain individuals will not feel comfortable establishing a direct communication link between themselves and Ben, and 2) to protect Ben in the event that a malicious party attempts to use the address for anything but its intended purpose.
Our primary goal here is to ensure that a survivor of abuse has a voice, that their story should be heard and that people who cross the line should be held accountable. What this means for the band, our album, our fans and our upcoming tours is, as of yet, unclear. Music is everything to us, but we feel strongly that this matter needs to be addressed first. Updates forthcoming.
However, more serious and graphic details emerged after an alleged survivor of one of Hopkins’ attacks spoke directly to Jezebel’s Hazel Cills, describe how Hopkins assaulted her while she was intoxicated:
“After Hopkins took Jen home they allegedly made sexually aggressive advances and started having sex with her without permission while also refusing to wear protection. Later, while she was asleep, Jen said she woke up to Hopkins trying to have sex with her again.”
In the light of the disturbing revelation, record label Polyvinyl have dropped the band claiming that “there is absolutely no place in the world for hate, violence, abuse, discrimination or predatory behavior of any kind”:
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 to support its efforts against sexual violence, and AVP to aid its programs against LGBTQ violence.
Our hearts go out to all victims of discrimination and all survivors of sexual violence.