Since the publication of the infamous New York Times article in 2019, Ryan Adams has been very quiet except for an apology published in the Daily Mail last year. The piece was ignored or dismissed by almost everyone, the UK tabloid probably sounded like a pathetic and untrustworthy source, just like the January 2021 article in the New York Post’s Page Six, which nevertheless revealed that the singer-songwriter had been cleared by the FBI in 2019: ‘A source with knowledge of the investigation told us: “Ultimately, the FBI found no evidence that would support charging Ryan with a crime, and closed its investigation, without charges, in the fall of 2019.’ Since a gossip page was the only source for this important piece of info, plenty of Adams’s detractors unfairly dismissed the news.
But I was waiting for an interview like the one published by Los Angeles Magazine today: at last, a media outlet eager to consider an interview with the fallen songwriter, at last someone with the courage to present some irrefutable facts and affront the angry mob. Let’s start with the facts. The most damaging part of the NYT article was the accusation regarding the underage girl, ‘Ava.’ We now have the confirmation from Adams’s lawyer himself, Andrew B. Brettler, that the FBI never found anything that could prove a pattern of illegal behavior with underage girls. After searching Adams’s iCloud account, the investigation was dropped in the fall of 2019. Why was this never announced? Except for the Page Six mention in 2021? I just like fairness, the NY Times initiated an FBI investigation for a crime against minors, the least they could have done is to provide a follow-up. But there was not a word anywhere, whereas the accusations against Adams were picked up by every single media outlet you can think of. According to the LA Mag interview, Adams was at his lowest point, he had lost his support at the time, including publicity, management, and promotion, and this explains why you never read about it in media, he had no publicist. However, isn’t it the role of the media to look for information and ask questions? I bet nobody reached out.
The LA Mag article even provides a written statement sent by Ava to Adams’s lawyer, and this is important: ‘I was not truthful about my age in my texts and communications with Ryan and I repeatedly told him I was 18. Contrary to the New York Times article, Ryan and I both freely participated equally in texts of a sexual nature with one another… Ryan is a good human being, and my sole wish is that both of us have learned from this experience.’ She lied about her age, and they never met in person, but this didn’t prevent people from accusing him of pedophilia, a ridiculous statement if you have ever met a true pedophile.
The other part of the accusations came from his ex-wife Mandy Moore and other women he dated, including Phoebe Bridgers. Since that time, Bridgers’ popularity has gone through the roof, so it’s going to be impossible to convince her herd of devoted fans that the episode of Adams naked in his hotel room, waiting for Phoebe was… fabricated? Adams says he has no recollection of it and he is backed up by his crew members who confirms he rarely sleeps in his hotel room and prefers to sleeps on his bus: ‘To one of his longtime female roadies, the idea of Adams standing in a hotel-room doorway naked is inexplicable behavior in someone she knows as very self-conscious about his body. “That’s weird to me, but I don’t know,” she says, then wonders if a disorienting flareup of his Meniere’s disease could have caused such a scene. ‘Sometimes he gets completely whacked out.’
He and Bridgers were not strangers, they had a brief and consensual relationship, and what I mean is that LA Mag is not giving a chance to a rapist or Bill Cosby! Bridgers accepted to tour with him in 2017, despite the emotional abuse she is accusing him of, and it’s interesting to note that ‘Adams’s female crew made attempts to reach Bridgers through social media and the cell number they still had for her from the tour, because ‘they were alarmed by the accusations and wanted to hear what had happened directly. Bridgers didn’t respond.’
There is even more from the women from Adams’s crew: ‘I feel like we created the space for her to be 100 percent comfortable to tell us anything,’ one of them says. ‘I fully apologize to her if she didn’t feel comfortable. The most irritating thing for me is that Phoebe has publicly called everybody around Ryan enablers, and we’re not. I love these women. I would have stuck up for them so hard . . . He does not intimidate me. This could have been solved before all this crap came out.’ Right? But there was no sign of Bridgers feeling uncomfortable at the time, and if you can scrawl down social media to 2015, you will see that Bridgers was still recommending Adams’s music on Twitter in 2015 after they had broken up – they dated in 2014.
As for Mandy Moore, I have no doubt her life with Ryan Adams was not easy, and once again, should I say that this is not about defending assholish behavior? I have no doubt Adams was controlling, needy and demanding, and terrible things are said during a failing marriage. However, it’s interesting to note that they had finalized their divorce in 2016, after separating in 2015, so more than 3 years before the NYT article. Adams said to LA Mag that he was surprised to see her involved in this sad story because he thought they had made amend. ‘Adams believed they had finally got to a place of acceptance and understanding. There had been apologies at the time and after, he says, and they had continued to communicate, in part to discuss care for the many animals they adopted together.’
He even sent her a letter when she got engaged to Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith. Thus, they had been in communication for years before the publication of the NYT article, but ‘their communication stopped six to eight months before the Times article came out.’ When they got divorced, TMZ obtained the divorce papers and it’s also interesting the gossip column was just explaining how the couple had decided to split their assets. There was no mention of emotional abuse or anything of this sort that, I am sure, TMZ would not have missed in the papers. Isn’t it what a divorce is about? To get everything off your chest?
Of course, people who have condemned Ryan Adams, people who have decided he is an abuser, ‘an absolute walking shit stain of a human’ – as I have read it on Twitter – will certainly say that this article is a pathetic attempt for Adams to recover an undeserved career – the Daily Beast has already published an unsupportive piece. There’s not much we can do for these people, most of them will not even take the time to read the long LA mag article, but it’s astonishing to see an entire crowd taking pleasure in seeing a man in great pain and enjoying the aftermath. There is something very disturbing about that. ‘I felt like they were asking me to die,’ he told LA Mag. If Adams hurts Mandy Moore, this should be between him and her, why are we suddenly invited inside a marriage? People want to cancel Ryan Adams, fine, but this is not what this story is about anymore. His career and life were burned to the ground, and even though it was ever deserved, there is currently an insistence coming from some people that he should never recover and even joy in observing someone’s life going down to ruins: just look at social media, and it’s not a good look.
I can’t diagnose Ryan Adams, but he is obviously a very emotional human being with plenty of problems, like many artists we love. At the top of this, he has chronic Meniere’s disease, which causes recurring episodes of vertigo and other disorders, the motion sickness that inspired Bridgers’ song. Many young people are obsessed with depression to the point of fetishizing mental illness, but these same people show no understanding toward someone with mental problems. Isn’t it completely illogical? Ryan Adams may have his career and life back; he mentions possible west coast shows this year and a possible tour in 2022 in the article. I hope it happens, I thought redemption was part of the American mythology.
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