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Bassnectar responds to lawsuits alleging sex trafficking and child abuse

Bassnectar finally breaks his silence over sex trafficking, child pornography counts

Photo credit: Brian Killian via Getty Images.

Tumultuous doesn’t really begin to encapsulate the 2020 that was had by Bassnectar, whose real name is Lorin Ashton. Before the pandemic hit, the year was gearing up to be the bass music deimgod’s biggest on record—with another headlining slot at Bonnaroo, alongside artists like Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, and Flume, his second edition of DejaVoom on the books, along with countless other curated events yet to be announced.

Exactly one week after the release of his now-final full-length studio album, All Colors, allegations of sexual misconduct began swirling across the internet; all driven by a viral Instagram account @evidenceagainstbassnectar. Bassnectar subsequently and reluctantly announced his “retirement from music” in light of the social media allegations and ensuing media storm.

As Bassnectar retreated into the shadows, his silence only fueled his further fall from grace. Ashton became the source of many investigative journalistic pieces (like this one from VICE), along with a number of podcasts on creating safe spaces for victims, calling wrongdoers “in” rather than out, and separating problematic artists from their art. Then, in April of 2021, Ashton was accused of sex trafficking and child pornography, according to the civil lawsuit filed in a US district court in Tennessee by two women, Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling.

The lawsuit also implicated Ashton’s affiliated companies, including Redlight ManagementC3 Presents, Ashton’s record label, his touring company, and his charitable non-profit, BeInteractive (which was renamed the Interactive Giving Fund shortly after the allegations came to light). According to the lawsuit, “Bassnectar uses the Bassnectar Companies’ brand, resources, and promotional events to recruit, lure, entice, and/or groom his victims and force or coerce them, or knowing that the victim has not attained the age of eighteen years, into engaging in commercial sex acts.” 

Now Bassnectar has broken his silence for the first time since last summer. Responding to the lawsuit last week, filed in a US district court in Tennessee, Ashton denied all wrongdoing and demanded a trial-by-jury. Ashton’s camp issued the following statement:

“This case is nothing more than an attempt by opportunistic women who have chosen to sue Ashton, his record label, managers, and even one of the charities he has contributed to, all in an attempt to frame years of friendship as trafficking so that they can exploit a statute for monetary gain.”

Bassnectar responds to lawsuits alleging sex trafficking and child abuse

An updated version of the lawsuit, filed by Laffey, Bucci & Kent, also names Ashton’s former tour manager, Carlos Donohue (along with his company, Gnarlos Industries) as defendants. Donohue has been charged with helping to arrange free tickets and transportation for the women when they were under 18.

Cynthia Sherwood, the lawyer representing Donohue and Gnarlos Industries, responded: “The claims against my clients are completely baseless and we look forward to proving that through the court. The allegations that remain are that he, as the tour manager, got tickets and backstage tickets for a show. To call that aiding in sex trafficking is outrageous.” 

Shortly after the lawsuit went public, two more women joined onto the case: Jenna Houston and an anonymous woman. However, after Ashton’s legal team required her to reveal her full name, the anonymous woman removed herself from the complaint after the court. “The dismissal of this anonymous accuser from this litigation is a first step toward Lorin’s complete vindication,” stated Ashton’s legal representatives in a written statement. They continued,

“We possess numerous communications which demonstrate that this individual’s claims were baseless, and it is clear that her withdrawal from this litigation and decision not to reveal her name, show her unwillingness to be attached to these outrageous and false allegations. We welcome this development and will not stop working until Mr. Ashton’s good name and reputation are restored.”

Mitch Schuster and Kim Hodde, Ashton’s attorneys.

This story is ongoing and developing. Stay tuned for more updates as the case goes to trial.

Via: Noisey/VICE.

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