Bands Protest Fellow Warped Tour Act Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

Bands Protest Fellow Warped Tour Act Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

The 23-year-old acoustic singer-songwriter Jake Mcelfresh, who works under the name Front Porch Step, has been facing a number of allegations of sexual misconduct and harrassment in the past few months. Numerous underage teenage girls have accused him of engaging in inappropriate and predatory text and social media relationships with them, including sending and soliciting sexually explicit photographs, and back in April, he issued a lengthy statement/apology via Facebook. After a large public outcry, it seemed likely that Mcelfresh would drop out of his spot on this summer’s traveling Vans Warped Tour festival — a petition to have Front Porch Step removed from the bill received over 13,000 signatures, and Warped founder Kevin Lyman seemingly confirmed his removal in a tweet — but Mcelfresh showed up to perform in the acoustic basement tent at yesterday’s Warped Tour stop in Nashville, TN, accompanied by a security detail.

In response to his appearance, many of Mcelfresh’s Warped Tour-mates have spoken out in protest, with the Wonder Years’ Dan “Soupy” Campbell canceling his set entirely. Others have publicly called for a boycott of Mcelfresh’s performances, and you can read a number of comments from his fellow musicians below.

(via Alternative Press, where you can find more of that)

UPDATE: Buzzfeed has unearthed video from part of Mcelfresh’s performance. Someone from the audience yells, “Are you going to rape some little girls?” to which he responds: “The difference between you and me is that I know who I am, and I fucking am very proud of that. So you can go ahead, watch my set. Thanks for the ticket money, dude.”

Alternative Press also talked to festival organizer Kevin Lyman about Mcelfresh’s appearance:

“He was only supposed to be here long enough to play his show,” Lyman told AP, “but the weather today has been putting us behind schedule. He wasn’t added to the tour, so those claims that he was ‘added to sell tickets’ are completely groundless.” Lyman also said only two security guards were near the stage, not five as altpress had reported earlier.

Lyman also stressed that because Mcelfresh has still not been formally charged with any misconduct, he agreed to have him perform. “If he was a legitimate danger to anyone, he simply would not have been here.”

UPDATE 2: In a pretty offensive new “boys will be boys”-ish statement to Billboard, Lyman dismisses the controversy as “not a real story,” basically implying that people are jumping on the incident because it’s fashionable to have a cause and that the whole thing will blow over soon, stopping just short of calling everyone a bunch of whiny social justice warrior crybabies:

The kid got himself in a little trouble. No charges, no court appearance, no restraining orders, nothing, it was a “stupidity of the road” kind of thing. We stepped in and got him into counseling right away in Nashville…I’m here to help. Half of these people in this parking lot, if they didn’t get a second chance in life, they wouldn’t be here on tour…I was like, “OK, if this is gonna help him get back on track with his life, under a supervised situation, I’m willing to do it.” If there was any speck of danger to anyone out there, it wouldn’t have happened…What I’ve got now is a world of lightning rods. People find their issue, they get around it for a minute, and then they’re onto something else.

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