My first exposure to PWR BTTM was a promo email I received months ago, advertising diverse shows in Los Angeles, and among them a PWR BTTM gig at the Teragram Ballroom,… which was already sold out. Who are they? I asked myself… I don’t know them and they have already sold out the Teragram? I listened to a few songs, some made me thought about a very queer version of Weezer and then I didn’t pay too much attention to the band, but today, stories about PWR BTTM were all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The PWR BTTM duo, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, are in the middle of a sex scandal. On Thursday, they published a Facebook post responding to allegations of sexual abuse, predatory behavior and even anti-Semitism! What’s going on?? Claims were made all over the internet that Ben Hopkins ‘initiate inappropriate sexual contact with people despite several ‘nos’ and without warning or consent’
To be more specific (because these are serious accusations), someone named Kitty Cordero-Kolin on Facebook wrote that Hopkins was ‘a known sexual predator, perpetrator of multiple assaults, etc.’ The anti-Semite accusation comes from another unrelated thing, but also posted by the same person: a photo of Hopkins on a beach next to a carved out swastika. And this is apparently an old story, as PWR BTTM explained the pic last year… if you can accept this as an explanation: ‘it was me as a stupid kid and not who I am today’,,, ‘I thought being ‘politically incorrect’ was really funny’…
The pic is about 6 years old, but he does not really look like ‘a kid’, more like a grown-up man… but I don’t want to mix everything, the sexual allegations and this stupid pic are two very different things. Today, all I can read about PWR BTTM was a myriad of fans expressing their disappointment following the band’s post on Facebook, which was not really addressing the situation and instead mentioned their desire to look ‘for a mediator with the necessary qualifications’
So is this another Conor Oberst kind-of-story or is this serious? This Kitty person has posted a lot of screen shots (also here) which don’t look too good for the band. All the names have been made invisible, but if this is entirely made up, people have a lot of time on their hands, and to put the final nail on the coffin, T-Rextasy, the band which was supposed to support them on tour, has admitted to have heard about the accusations from a person in July: ‘someone came to us privately and warned us that they had these experiences with Ben’.
And finally, Brooklyn Vegan has announced that PWR BTTM’s NYC record release party at Rough Trade was cancelled due to the allegations… so these accusations are really taken seriously,
To be continued,… but once again, if these stories are revealed to be entirely true, the queer pop band PWR BTTM may be dead meat, as it now seems impossible to appreciate their upbeat music with all this ugliness in mind.
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