Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Talk On Front Porch Step

   If you don't feel like reading the entire statement I've got prepared, this sentence sums it all up: Warped needs to get their shit together. Let's take this back a couple months. In January, the band's single member, Jake McElfresh was accused of sexual harassment of multiple underage girls through text and in person confrontations. Screenshots of messages got out and all hell broke loose- there was a pretty obvious divide: the ignorant Front Porch Step fans that were excited to see their favorite band at Warped and those actually concerned for victims of McElfresh's actions and future young girls he could possibly harm. Even if McElfresh had learned his lesson and wouldn't repeat this, those who manipulate and harm anyone should NOT be given opportunities to thrive within this industry. There was a petition started against Front Porch Step playing the tour and though it did not reach it's ultimate goal, conversation was sparked and founder, Kevin Lyman, said he was dealing with it- around two days later, the band was dropped from Pure Noise and Allison Weiss, who had planned to tour the UK with McElfresh, made a statement saying she had left the tour. Though radical and great procedures were being made, there continued to be no statement from Lyman. In the end, a statement on Lyman's twitter was made that FPS would not be attending. However, on July 1, In Nashville, our favorite band was due to play. Needless to say, I along with thousands of others, were furious. How dare Lyman allow this to happen? Especially after calling him off? Thankfully, there was countless backlash against McElfresh on multiple member's of tour's twitters telling him to not stick around or else "you want to find out what half the people on this tour want to do to you" and to see Man Overboard at the same time instead. Dan "Soupy" Campbell even cancelled his performance in the acoustic basement due to play after FPS. There were even discussions at band tents on the issues of allowing a sexual abuser play a major music festival. Although most of the right publicity for the performance was displayed, there was inevitably going to be comments from fans supporting him. Most supporters claimed there was no evidence against McElfresh's actions along with saying they'd see him at Warped. Luckily, this was a complete one time thing, FPS played twenty minutes and then left. On a music website, it was said that this performance was a part of a rehabilitation process and that supervisors were there, Warped Tour also did not pay him. Lyman reported, "Since no one has filed a charge, for me it’s time to move on. He’s not on the whole tour, this is one piece of a puzzle of trying to bring people back that have made mistakes in their lives. He could be going to jail, and if there had been charges against him I assure you he wouldn’t have been here." Though this statement is riddled with many different controversial things (such as why is performing in front of fans !!the people he's hurt!! part of his therapy) the line that sticks out the most to me is "this is one piece of a puzzle of trying to bring people back that have made mistakes in their lives." zoom in a little more on one single word: MISTAKES. What Jake McElfresh did is NOT a mistake. Forgetting to lock the door behind you before you leave the house is a mistake. Sexual harassing multiple underage girls is a crime. Jake McElfresh did not make a mistake. He committed a crime. To sum up this large hunk of writing, I am livid Warped and Kevin Lyman allowed Front Porch Step to play this year's Nashville date and I believe the incident has sparked some great conversation on how to make music festivals like this more safe and how to avoid things like this. Overall, this entire situation is a wake up call towards Warped Tour. If something like this happens again, I can guarantee I will not be attending the festival next year. 
Kevin Lyman Explains Why Front Porch Step Played Today's Warped Tour: 'This Was a One-Time Supervised Part of a Rehabilitation Process'
Musicians React to Front Porch Step Playing Warped Tour
Everything We Know About The Sexual Harassment Allegations Front Porch Step
Front Porch Step Speaks Out In Lengthy Statement "You deserve to hear my side of the story"

1 comment :

  1. I have never heard about this band but it's so important that people make it known to each other that their favs are problematic and we cannot blindly adore a band when they have a history of predatory behavior and are a genuine risk to the community