After the New York Times published an explosive report about musician Ryan Adams’ history of sexual misconduct and career manipulation, his 2019 album plans have been halted.
Adams was slated to put out three albums this year, starting with Big Colors, which was scheduled for an April 19 release via Adams’ Pax-Am label, including a distribution deal with Capitol Records/Blue Note.
According to a follow-up report by the New York Times, Adams’ interactions with a then-underage girl have gotten the attention of the F.B.I. Those allegations were in addition to misconduct accusations by Adams’ ex-wife, singer Mandy Moore, and acclaimed indie artist Phoebe Bridgers, among others.
The Times report explains that “F.B.I. agents in the bureau’s New York office on Thursday took the first steps to open a criminal investigation…The agents, from the Crimes Against Children Squad, will seek to interview the woman, the official said, and try to obtain the text messages and any other evidence she may have in her possession. If they find her account credible, they will take other investigative steps, which could include subpoenaing both her cellphone records and those of Adams from their service providers, the official said.”
The woman in question is 20-year-old bassist Ava (identified by the Times by her middle name), who had a nine-month, online relationship with Adams when she was 15 and 16. The Times reports of thousands of texts sent between the two, beginning with Adams offering career help and evolving into sexual correspondences, phone sex and naked video calls. Adams reportedly frequently asked Ava about her age, with varying responses from the younger musician, and Adams repeatedly asked her to keep their interactions secret. At one point, Adams allegedly joked to the underage musician, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”
Through his lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, Adams denies all of the allegations, saying that Adams “unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage.”
Adams also posted an apology on Twitter that reads, “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly. But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period. As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing.”
Natalie Prass, whom Adams has been romantically linked to, briefly wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, “Believe women, believe survivors.”
Read the full Times follow-up piece here.