Just weeks after releasing their new album Peaceful As Hell and days after sharing a cover of likeminded pop experimentalists 100 gecs, the Toronto experimental pop duo Black Dresses have disbanded following some drama seemingly related to one of their earlier songs going viral on TikTok. The band’s music has been removed from Spotify and YouTube but remains available on Bandcamp.
Black Dresses member Ada Rook posted a statement to the band’s Twitter account Tuesday confirming the breakup but dispelling some of the rumors that began spreading over the weekend. According to the statement, the disbandment is the result of a pattern of harassment directed at Rook’s bandmate Devi McCallion, who also recently released an album under her reactivated Girls Rituals moniker. “After some consideration, Black Dresses will no longer exist following Devi’s extended harassment thru her involvement in this band, not just recently but escalating over a period of time.”
The details of the situation remain fuzzy. There was some online speculation that the end of the Black Dresses project was spurred by “In My Mouth,” a track from the duo’s 2018 debut album WASTEISOLATION, going viral on TikTok. As one Reddit poster wrote, “it looks like Devi got upset about the song blowing up because it was about her being sexually assaulted as a child, and teenagers were making cosplay- themed Tik Toks to it.” Rook’s statement confirms that a song from WASTEISOLATION “set this all off,” but it wasn’t “In My Mouth.” She continues, “It’s honestly irrelevant which song it was. Entitled fans have been behaving in a very hurtful and frightening way towards Devi including extended invasion of privacy and harassment for some two years now, only going to further and further extremes.”
Here is Rook’s statement in full:
After some consideration, Black Dresses will no longer exist following Devi’s extended harassment thru her involvement in this band, not just recently but escalating over a period of time.
There is a lot of false information going around. “IN MY MOUTH” was NOT the song that set this all off, contrary to what has been reported. It’s honestly irrelevant which song it was. Entitled fans have been behaving in a very hurtful and frightening way towards Devi including extended invasion of privacy and harassment for some two years now, only going to further and further extremes.
When we released WASTEISOLATION we had almost no audience, didn’t know what TikTok was, and didn’t think we would get any attention for such a personal album. Following its popularity, we did our best to about less personal subject matter on subsequent albums, but WASTEISOLATION, which includes songs about both of our experiences with childhood sexual assault, remained very popular. Unfortunately, that popularity has now culminated in Devi’s harassment, so we have decided to disband.
Fans can be kind. Fans can be creative. Fans can be alive and inspired and full of goodness. However, “Fandom” often involves the culture of acting like you own a person and feeling entitled to them. Fandom frequently feels within its right to try and punish or destroy the object of its fascination if it does not cater to the fandom’s perception of what it should be. We do not hate our fans — we’ve had many positive interactions with them — but recent events have been far too strenuous to Devi’s health, so we are simply doing what we have to.
I (rook) am somewhat more detached from the situation but obviously want Devi to be safe, so I stand with her on this decision completely. I am still very proud of what we accomplished on WASTEISOLATION and it’s a deeply special album to me. We are grateful for the support we have received over the years. Please do not spread unfounded rumors or gossip or ask us for further clarification. We are simply doing what is best for us. Thank you.
As Brooklyn Vegan points out, McCallion posted a similar statement Saturday on her Instagram, which has since been set to private: “After much thought Black Dresses will no longer exist after the songs we have already finished but have not released have been released. once the songs we already wrote are out so are we. fuck black dresses. thanks for your support and also your repulsive parasocial stalker rage directed at hurting us.”
— Black Dresses (@BlackDresses666) May 27, 2020