Warped Tour producer Kevin Lyman has responded to the incident, as has Craig. While Billboard also reached out to the victim, she has not yet responded to a request for comment.
After playing July 14 in Mansfield, Mass., and July 15 in Darien, N.Y., Slaves were en route to perform July 16 in Cincinnati when Craig sexually harassed the saleswoman. According to Craig and Lyman, the victim was not touched in any way.
“This is my understanding,” Craig says of the morning after the incident, in Cincinnati. “I think she was planning on coming and talking to us and leaving the tour. She was crying and someone from the Warped Tour staff approached her and asked what had happened. The next thing I know, we’re getting calls saying I need to get out in 40 minutes. They’re saying it’s because I sexually harassed her.”
That day, Slaves were asked to leave the Warped Tour immediately.
“When I booked him, my first question was, ‘Is Jonny sober?'” Lyman tells Billboard via email, expressing concern over past problems Craig (who also fronted Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa) had with drugs and alcohol. Craig admits he was drinking with his bandmates when the harrassment occurred.
“A few years back, I helped get him into rehab twice,” Lyman says. “He couldn’t stay clean on the tour, so we had his dealers arrested each day. On a last-ditch effort, I flew his mother out to the tour at my expense to tell her that her son would die if he did not get clean. … I did this because in 1995, I wish I had flown [Sublime singer] Brad Nowell’s parents in and told them the same thing.”
In the days following the dismissal, Lyman reconsidered and proposed a plan to allow Craig and Slaves to return if they adhered to a series of caveats, such as attending a meeting with sexual-harassment and bullying counselors, daily meetings with a representative from MusiCares, additional band management being flown out to the tour and a public apology.
“After his mother reached out to me about giving him another chance, I woke up and came up with the five-point plan. Many members of the tour voiced opposition, so we had the town hall and anyone could speak, including him. About 275 members of the tour came. When all was said, the vote was held and approximately 75 percent thought this was not the right place if he was not sober.”
Craig expressed confusion as to the terms of the initial deal with Lyman, saying the deal to stay sober was with Slaves’ booking agent. “It wasn’t in any actual written contracts that we weren’t supposed to not drink,” he says, though he admits, “the impression on Kevin Lyman was that we would be doing the tour sober.” Slaves has done sober tours before, Craig maintains, and “has no problem being a sober band” going forward.
Since the incident, Slaves has been dropped by its booking agent and tour dates for fall 2015 have been canceled.
Billboard welcomes anyone who can assist with the victim’s input toward this story.
Earlier this summer, Jake McElfresh, who performs as Front Porch Step, canceled a string of Warped Tour dates after allegations of sexual misconduct — involving explicit messaging with underage girls — surfaced. However, Lyman permitted him to perform an unpaid set at Warped’s July 1 stop in Nashville. For more on that story, see Billboard‘s recent interview with McElfresh.