Photo by Stephen Bloch
In the wake of the New York Times‘ report on Ryan Adams’ alleged sexual misconduct and career manipulation, a few of the musician’s former collaborators have come forward to comment on the issue.
Jenny Lewis, who toured with Adams in 2015 and 2017, wrote on Twitter, “I am deeply troubled by Ryan Adams’ alleged behavior. Although he and I had a working professional relationship, I stand in solidarity with the women who have come forward.” (Adams also produced Lewis’ 2014 LP The Voyager.)
Adams was prepared to put out three albums in 2019, starting with Big Colors which was slated for an April 19 release. Following the New York Times piece, and an ensuing FBI inquiry, looking into Adams’ interaction with an underage girl, all of his record plans have been halted.
In the original New York Times piece, Adams’ ex-wife/actress/musician Mandy Moore said “Music was a point of control” for Adams, and he belittled her accomplishments in an abusive manner. Indie singer Phoebe Bridgers recalled Adams giving her a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to open for him on his European Tour, but as the Times piece details, Adams’ behavior escalated quickly: “Adams’s attention turned obsessive and emotionally abusive, Bridgers said. He began barraging her with texts, insisting that she prove her whereabouts, or leave social situations to have phone sex, and threatening suicide if she didn’t reply immediately. When she broke off the relationship, Bridgers said, Adams became evasive about releasing the music they had recorded together and rescinded the offer to open his upcoming concerts.”
In a new Instagram post, Bridgers followed-up on her statements to The Times and thanked her friends and family: “It’s been a weird week and I wanted to say a couple things. Thank you from my whole fucking heart to my friends, my bands, my mom. They all supported and validated me. They told me that what had happened was fucked up and wrong, and that I was right to feel weird about it. I couldn’t have done this without them.”
She also added, “Ryan had a network too. Friends, bands, people he worked with. None of them held him accountable. They told him, by what they said or by what they didn’t, that what he was doing was okay. They validated him. He couldn’t have done this without them. Guys, if your friend is acting fucked up, call them out. If they’re actually your friend, they’ll listen. That’s the way this all gets better.”
Liz Phair – who had worked on a batch of unreleased music with Adams – also commented on Twitter, “My experience was nowhere near as personally involving, but yes the record ended and the similarities are upsetting.”
Among the other women who came forward is 20-year-old bassist Ava (identified by the Times by her middle name), who had a nine-month 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 a certain point Adams allegedly texted the teenager, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”
Through his lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, Adams has denied all of the allegations, adding “he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage” and called his relationship with Bridgers “a brief, consensual fling.”
Adams also released his own statement via Twitter reading, “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.”