Rock

PWR BTTM 'Strongly Contest' Recent Allegations of Sexual Assault in New Statement

PWR BTTM
Ebru Yildiz

PWR BTTM

It's been a week since punk duo PWR BTTM's world collapsed in the wake of allegations of a history of sexual assault and "unwanted advances on minors" against singer/guitarist Ben Hopkins. The silence from the band also has been deafening since it issued an initial statement on May 12 -- which drew criticism for putting the onus on potential victims to come forward -- as the duo was swiftly dropped by its label, management and tour support.

On Thursday (May 18), Hopkins and bandmate singer/drummer Liv Bruce released a new, lengthy statement in which Hopkins denied the anonymous account of their alleged assaults of a woman interviewed by Jezebel last week, saying, "I strongly contest the account put forth in Jezebel." In Hopkins' telling, the multiple interactions with the woman in question -- who Hopkins does not name or identify -- took place beginning in March 2016 after a show and included several sexual assignations Hopkins deemed consensual.

"What has transpired over the past several days has been emotionally overwhelming and difficult to comprehend," Hopkins wrote. "Last Thursday, I learned that an anonymous individual had made an allegation of sexual assault against me. This allegation was devastating to me as it is contrary to the intentional way I seek to interact with those around me. As I digested the allegations, I tried to figure out who the individual might be so that I could try to reconcile what I had read with my memory of any particular sexual interaction. I’ve waited to respond to the Jezebel article because the statements made about me by the anonymous source did not line up with any sexual experience I have ever had."

Once Hopkins figured out who the woman was after speaking with Bruce -- who, it was also revealed, had spoken to the woman earlier this year when the allegations began making the rounds on message boards -- Hopkins reviewed their interactions. "After the show, she invited me back to her house and we eventually engaged in sex," Hopkins said of their first contact last March. "Based on the nature of our communications and our interactions with one another, I understood our interactions to be fully consensual. We stayed in touch over the course of several weeks by exchanging texts and pictures. Later, she asked if she could stay with me at my home, where we had sex several more times over the course of those days. Again, I understood these interactions to be fully consensual, especially since our ongoing communications continued to be mutual, positive and reciprocal in nature."

Hopkins claimed they did not see each other much after that, but when they did, it was "entirely pleasant," and they continued to exchange texts as recently as March of this year. "I had no indication before last week that she had any concerns about our interaction," Hopkins said. In February of this year, Hopkins said, they learned that the woman had "expressed concerns" to others about her time with the singer.