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Hookworms lead singer Matthew Johnson accused of serious sexual and physical assault


Matthew Johnson, the lead singer of Leeds band Hookworms, has been accused of sexual and physical assault in an account published by his ex-girlfriend Alanna McArdle.

McCardle, the current singer of Ex-Vöid, claims to have been contacted by an unnamed woman who has detailed a series of alleged physical and sexual assault allegations against Johnson.

Hookworms, who have been publicly vocal in support of survivors of sexual assault in the past, have yet to respond to the allegations made against Johnson.

McArdle took the decision to publish the allegations via social media, which is available below.

The statement reads:

“Many of you will know of—or know personally—my ex-boyfriend Matthew Johnson as a recording engineer and the front-person of the band Hookworms.

“Almost 3 weeks ago I was contacted by a woman, who I will refer to as L, who was seeing Matt in 2016. She has given me permission and asked me to share (leaving her anonymous) details of horrific abuse she suffered from Matt during the time they were involved.

“L is a survivor of sexual and physical abuse, something she made Matt aware of. Over the course of numerous interactions, he made jokes about the specific details of L’s past experience, joking about raping her, mutilating her body, and punching her in the face. He sexually assaulted her, triggering her PTSD, and at the time remained unapologetic for his actions.

“Over the last two years he had maintained to her that his actions were out of him being in love with her, and he pursued an emotionally abusive love-bombing campaign towards L in an attempt to reframe his actions.

“They met when L was going through a difficult time, and it appears that Matt exploited her vulnerability in order to enact his abuse.

“I have seen evidence of Matt texting L a few weeks ago admitting to these sexually and emotionally abusive actions.

“L and I have been emailing over the last couple of weeks and met up to discuss what could be done in order to enact some type of accountability for Matt, and for her to possibly find a sense of closure in her recovery from his abusive behaviour.

“Given the social stature that Matt has in the UK music scene, and the (to put it mildly) worrying and clearly manipulative attempts he has made over the course of many years to position himself as a feminist activist and ally, she and I were both frankly terrified at how he has abused this power and trust to such a horrifying extent.

“Matt’s commitment to building a narrative around him that posits him as a politically aware and active person, and the fact that he has capitalised on this in the promotion of his band and their last record, is truly despicable, and to know that he would construct this narrative while acting in abusive ways shows how little remorse he feels for his actions, prioritising his image above any actual basic respect for women and acting in abjectly misogynistic and violent ways.

“Due to his position in music and his ability to abuse his power to such an extent, L has asked that I make the public aware of his actions so that he doesn’t get the opportunity to do so again.

“For the sake of the safety of women and survivors of sexual, emotional and physical abuse everywhere, I would ask you to share this widely. I would also like to ask (though I really shouldn’t have to) men not just in the scene but EVERYWHERE to stop turning a blind eye to the abusive actions of your friends, to actively hold people accountable, to stop performatively giving “support” to women solely for the sake of your image.

“I am so amazed at how brave L is to come forward with her experience, especially when it concerns someone with such social capital and who has painted a very convincing picture of himself as an ally. It is utterly depressing and terrifying how men in all industries continue to be so abusive and to get away with it.”

Far Out Magazine has contacted Hookworms’ label Domino Records for comment. 

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