Ryan Adams has been accused of engaging in a pattern of manipulative and abusive behavior that includes offering up career opportunities to female artists while at the same time pursuing them for sexual relationships, according to a new report from New York Times. Adams, through a lawyer, has denied the allegations.
The Times talked to more than a dozen sources within the music industry or connected with Adams who corroborate the characterization, including Phoebe Bridgers, Adams’ ex-wife Mandy Moore, his ex-fiancée Megan Butterworth, Courtney Jaye, and a girl identified as Ava, who says she was 15- and 16-years-old when Adams exposed himself to her during a Skype session and exchanged sexually explicit text messages with her, including one that said “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.” Ava eventually came to understand the unequal power dynamic and ultimately gave up performing music.
Adams’ lawyer Andrew B Brettler says that, “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” adding that some of the allegations come from “grousing by disgruntled individuals.”
Bridgers was invited to record with Adams in 2014, when she was 20. She describes to the Times a romantic relationship that grew emotionally abusive as 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 things off, Bridgers says, Adams retaliated by rescinding career opportunities. Adams’ lawyer says the relationship was consensual and denies there was any professional retaliation.
Former teen pop star and current This Is Us actress Moore met Adams in 2007 when she was 23. They wed two years later and remained married for seven years, collaborating on music that was never recorded or released. “Music was a point of control for him,” Moore tells the Times, relaying that her ex-husband told her she wasn’t a real musician because she didn’t play an instrument. “His controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s,” she says. Adams’ lawyer tells the paper this characterization is “completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship.”
Last year Adams drew criticism for lashing out at Moore and Butterworth on social media. According to the Times he also harassed his ex-fiancée with hundreds of texts, calls, and emails that contained threats of suicide and lawsuits.
Read the full Times piece here. Stereogum has reached out to Adams’ representation for comment.
UPDATE: Adams has responded to the NYT article in a series of tweets:
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 though 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.
Earlier today he tweeted this:
Worth noting that Ryan Adams sent this deranged (and now deleted) tweet earlier today ahead of the New York Times exposé being published. pic.twitter.com/rd8mVkSEQk
— ⭐ amy o'connor ⭐ (@amyohconnor) February 13, 2019