Multiple Accusers Cite Brand New’s Jesse Lacey for Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Reports of sexual misconduct have permeated not only Hollywood following the outing of film producer Harvey Weinstein, but in all facets of the celebrity and entertainment world. New York-based alt rockers Brand New returned to the music scene with their first new record in eight years in 2017, but their musical comeback has been cut short as frontman Jesse Lacey now faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including solicitation of nude photos from two minors. As a result, he released a lengthy statement and the band has made the decision to postpone their upcoming tour dates in the U.K. and Ireland.
On Friday (Nov. 10) a now-deleted Facebook post surfaced online where accusations were levied against Lacey. The post, made by Nicole Elizabeth Garey, detailed the singer's attempts to groom her in 2003 when she was 15-years-old. After meeting the band at a photoshoot, Lacey exchanged contact information with Garey, who was subsequently asked to send naked pictures of herself, which she consented to do. At the time, Lacey was 24.
“I didn’t really see it for what it was because when you’re a teenager you think, ‘I know everything, I’m an adult,'" Garey told Pitchfork in an interview. The contact between the two continued into Garey's adulthood and when she was in her early 20s, Lacey had engaged in a Skype video chat with her and she alleges that he masturbated. “I know I should’ve turned it off, but there’s something in me that couldn’t. This will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life," she commented.
Another woman, Emily Driskill, alleges Lacey's sexual misconduct with her took place when she was 16. “He was the first person to ever tell me that I was hot. In hindsight as an adult woman, I know I was preyed on," she told Pitchfork when describing her first in-person encounter with the Brand New singer, who is said to have stared at her breasts while commenting on her body during the encounter.
Driskill was also solicited for nude photos when she was 17. Lacey allegedly sent lewd photos of himself in return and masturbated during Skype video chats with Driskill "countless" times as well, threatening that if she did not participate in his desires that her contact with and access to the band would be scaled back. She has also noted an encounter with the singer in the band's green room at a show in Texas where he pinned her against the wall, engaging in unwanted physical contact. At the time of this alleged incident, she was 18.
Since the original Facebook post was shared, Lacey released a lengthy statement (on Nov. 11), owning up to his past, but never directly acknowleding the original accusations of grooming a minor. "I do not stand in defense of myself nor do I forgive myself," he said, in part. The frontman explained his dependence on sex "early on" in life and his struggle with attempting to right his path through transparency with his then soon-to-be wife. Read the full statement below:
In an effort to address recent events and the public conversation currently happening, I feel it is important to make a clear and personal statement.
The actions of my past have caused pain and harm to a number of people, and I want to say that I am absolutely sorry. I do not stand in defense of myself nor do I forgive myself. I was selfish, narcissistic, and insensitive in my past, and there are a number of people who have had to shoulder the burden of my failures. I apologize for the hurt I have caused, and hope to be able to take the correct actions to earn forgiveness and trust.
Early on in my life, I developed a dependent and addictive relationship with sex. I was scared of it, ashamed, and unwilling or unable to admit it, and so it grew into a consistent and terrible problem. Years ago, after admitting my habits and cheating to my then soon to be wife, I began to approach my problem in a serious way. I entered professional treatment, both in group therapy and individual counseling, and revealed the realities of what a terrible place I had gotten to in my life, and what a terrible impact my actions had on people.
Lust, sex, love, and arousal were coping tools for me, and I returned to them repeatedly. I detached my own feelings and emotions from most of my sexual interactions. I hid, or lied about my behavior to escape reproach. I was a habitual cheater. I have been unfaithful in many, if not most of my relationships, including the relationship with my wife, who has with all of her might, patience, and grace, tried to hold our marriage together, despite having to endure the pain of the revelations of my past. It is heart wrenching that the most important changes in my life have come at the expense of others.
I am sorry for how I have hurt people, mistreated them, lied, and cheated. I am sorry for ignoring the way in which my position, status, and power as a member of a band affected the way people viewed me or their approach to their interactions with me. And I am sorry for how often I have not afforded women the respect, support, or honesty that they deserved, and which is their right. I believe in the equality and autonomy of all, but in my life I have been more of a detriment to these ideals than an advocate.
I am working to shed all my narcissism and my self obsession, and to be better. In sobriety I have changed my life and my mind in real and important ways. I have also revealed the truth of my behaviors to myself and to others. I do not have words to express the patience and help my wife has offered me. I love my family with an intensity and realness that I have never felt before, and as a husband and a father I have been granted the opportunity to wake up each day with the intent to serve my family and the people around me, and to feel, for the first time that I have purpose.
The fact remains that none of us get to put a wall up between who we are and who we were. I need to earn forgiveness. Concepts like repentance, compassion, and love, are made real through actions, and it’s through my actions that I need to prove change. I hope I can show humility, and that the pain I have caused people can heal. I am not above reproach, and no one should be.
In 2016, it was revealed by Lacey that Brand New had intentions on breaking up in 2018 after the release of what appears to be their final album. Science Fiction marked the first new album from the group since 2009's Daisy and is their first to top the Billboard 200 chart.
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