Enlarge Photo credit: Samuel Claeys

False Break Up Following Sexual Assault Allegations

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Black metallers False recently found a band accused of sexual assault, but rather than kick him out and issue an apologetic statement while eventually seeking out a replacement, they said to hell with it all and just scrapped the entire project with a strongly-worded missive.

The band’s statement reads as follows:

“We were recently made aware of accusations of sexual assault against a member of False. The rest of the group believes the survivor and stands with all survivors of rape, assault, or abuse. No other part of False or Gilead Media was aware of this single member’s reprehensible, inexcusable behavior.

“Effective immediately False will cease to exist. The band is over, and we have permanently severed creative ties with the accused member. To be part of a creative community is a privilege. No person that has perpetrated any type abuse or assault can be given a position of power or influence to prey upon others.”

While the statement does not name the band member in question, it is believed to be guitarist James Claypool, who also plays live guitar for Panopticon. Claypool issued the following statement via Facebook on Saturday, June 27, two days before the band’s public announcement of their breakup:

“Per my post yesterday and working to adhere to the substance of it, I wanted to say I apologize and own up to any past behaviors where I hurt anyone, made them to feel creeped out/uncomfortable or any indiscretions on my part. I am open to mediation or what those accountability processes might entail. I’m willing do the work and make amends, and if I want to see my community do better I have to start with myself. I also want to thank the folks who stepped in and checked me, real friends push each other to change and do better and I appreciate y’all for that.

“*Amendment: Please don’t use this post for anecdotal “great guy posts” or that sort of thing, it isn’t the space for that.”

The post yesterday to which Claypool is referring is the following, posted on Facebook on June 26, in which he lays out childhood trauma and his recent efforts to address that in therapy:

“CW: Childhood trauma.

“When I was nine years old I was raped by a neighbor. He was about four years older than me, and I would go over to his house regularly to play Nintendo. I won’t write details, but one day he told me we could play another kind of game. He moved away a few months later. I didn’t understand what had happened until I myself got a little older. I choked it down, doing my best to pretend like it didn’t affect me. I was ashamed because I felt like it made me “less of a man”, that it made me weak and if people found out that l’d be stuck with that stigma of “damaged goods” and be seen as less than. So I kept quiet about it until now, sharing only with a small number of people that I only need both hands to count. It wasn’t until seeking therapy and having discussions with other people with experiences similar to mine that I realized childhood trauma like this is sadly not as uncommon as people would like to think it is. These continued discussions also made me think about the role of the individual in complicity with these systems of oppression, patriarchy and abuse. I can’t let that shame get in the way of introspection anymore. Even 23 years after the fact it’s something that I still find myself having to come to terms with, and how it has shaped me and my relationship with masculinity itself.

“Being a cis male in a highly patriarchal society it’s just a fact that there are certain privileges men are given. On top of that, we are socialized with patterns of behavior that takes actual work to unlearn. I’ve tried doing that work. I’ve come to terms that what happened to me is a part of my life that is still expressed overtly through the desire to be “strong”, to be the furthest thing from “weak” and to project a veneer saying that I feel strong even when that’s not the case. In doing that I was perpetuating toxic masculinity myself. There have been multiple times in sexual situations where I’ve felt a pressure to continue with what was happening in the moment, even if it wasn’t something I wanted to do. I told myself to just suck it up, that saying no would make me “less of a man”. I conditioned myself to do that to compensate for far too many things and to avoid getting the help I desperately needed by talking to someone.

“I’m sharing my story now in light of ongoing discussions surrounding the music community at large and abuse. Power doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it is produced and re-produced through our everyday actions and interactions. Us as artists need to recognize the power we hold in these spaces. Social capital isn’t overt power in the sense of keeping someone down with a boot, but there are still power dynamics that artists need to do a better job of being critical of while taking space in their respective communities. That includes myself as an artist, promoter, trainer, etc. That includes assessing what happened to me when I was nine, and not taking for granted how that’s shaped myself, my worldview and everything else. I’ve had to check people and I’ve also been checked by people I care dearly about. For them, I’m grateful. It’s apparent that more work needs to be done by everyone. It’s about lifting up voices, particular bipoc, lgbtqa and female voices to make our community a healthier and safer one. That isn’t done through self-congratulatory back-patting. It’s done by telling each other to listen, to do the work, and to do better. Period, nothing less.

“The decision to seek therapy last year was one of the best and most important decisions I ever made, and helped me realize how that trauma has shaped many aspects of my life. It put into perspective how pervasive and literal toxic masculinity is, how it helps shape men to normalize terrible behaviors and stay silent when they see said behaviors, and how badly restorative justice is needed for our communities. I specifically implore the men in my life to seek therapy to talk about their experiences, traumas and short-comings or perceived short-comings and to approach these self-critiques from our respective positionalities within structures of power, and how that can be projected via unhealthy coping mechanisms, micro-aggressions which too often get seen as benign rather than indicative of larger issues, or worse. Don’t let trauma continue to chip away from you like I let it do to myself for the vast majority of my life. If anyone wants resources for counseling, therapy or literature I encourage you to get in touch.”

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