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Musical Musings: Brand New Allegations

By Andrew Willoughby

Of all the recent sexual misconduct allegations and admissions, none hit me harder than Jesse Lacey’s.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, the frontman of esteemed alt/punk rock band Brand New posted a long-winded and quite frankly insulting letter to fans on the group’s Facebook page.

It started out well: “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 apologize for the hurt I have caused, and hope to be able to take the correct actions to earn forgiveness and trust.”

As I read the first two paragraphs, I commended Lacey for putting these things out there before any of his victims did. It seemed as if he were ready to start a conversation with fans and anyone he had hurt.

However, as I read on, it became clear this was not the case.

He goes on to describe his “dependent and addictive relationship with sex,” in what I can only call a forced sob story. I’m sure it wasn’t his intention, but Lacey paints himself to be the victim here.

It’s a bit ironic that he claims, “I am working to shed all my narcissism and my self-obsession” in a 614-word essay about himself in which he doesn’t even mention the victim(s).

What annoys me the most is that Lacey paints himself out to be nothing worse than a sex-addicted adulterer. What he failed to mention is that he – as a 24-year-old man – had a sexual relationship with a then-14-year-old girl, Leah Cunningham.

Now an adult, she commented on his post, detailing her 10-year relationship with Lacey – full of “plane tickets,” “lies,” expensive gifts and “expectations” – and rejecting his “bullshit internet apology.”

Brand New has been one of my favorite bands for almost a decade. I’ll have no problem avoiding content made by monsters such as Kevin Spacey or Louis C.K., but letting go of Brand New will be hard.

I do not condone Lacey’s horrifying actions, and he’s only one fourth of the band. His bandmates don’t deserve their careers to be ruined – that is, unless they knew about Lacey’s relationship with Leah and said nothing.

For now, I’m not sure if I can continue listening to Brand New. However, if more allegations concerning Lacey and his band come out, I’ll be letting them go for good.

In Leah’s words, “You still don’t win,” Jesse Lacey.


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