Orwells Cancel Chicago Show After Sex Abuse Claims: 'We Emphatically Deny These Baseless Allegations'

Kelly Puleo
The Orwells

After a string of claims surfaced over the weekend alleging sexual abuse and offensive behavior, The Orwells responded on Monday night (Aug. 27) with a strongly worded statement denying the reports.

"It’s come to our attention that certain allegations of abuse have been made against one or more of us on social media and in social circles of Chicago," reads a statement from members Mario Cuomo, Henry Brinner and Grant Brinner provided to Billboard. "We’d like to first state that sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent. We do not take these accusations lightly and consider this matter incredibly serious. We emphatically deny these baseless allegations brought as a personal attack against us.

"While callow altercations and vulgar language we’ve used in the past must be recognized and owned up to, the accusations of sexual assault are completely unfounded. No member of this band has ever acted without consent or maliciously taken advantage of anyone. We encourage anyone who’s been affected by sexual abuse to speak up and make their abusers known; however we also encourage everyone to be cautious of the things they read and say on the Internet."

Without naming the band, Metro tweeted on Monday that it does not "tolerate acts of violence, victimization, or predation"; the band's planned Nov. show, which was announced on Friday (Aug. 24), is no longer listed on the venue's website.

The allegations were compiled in a lengthy Reddit thread and on other social media posts which claimed that Cuomo has frequently used inappropriate and homophobic language and sent unsolicited nude photos to underage fans (and allegedly asked those fans to send him photos in return), that a number of the group's songs contain lyrics about violence against women and that their shows often include violence/degrading acts against fans; a number of the allegations date back to 2013. 

"No victim of abuse should be hesitant to make their voice heard and if someone does feel that we’ve hurt them, we encourage them to contact us properly and privately (not via social media or anonymously), as to respect their identity," the band concluded their statement. A number of other bands have also spoken out against the group in light of the allegations.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.