UPDATE: Jesse has issued a statement.
UPDATE 2: Kevin Devine, who has been a touring member of Brand New, also issued a statement.
UPDATE 3: Brand New's upcoming shows have been cancelled.
UPDATE 4: Another woman came forth with detailed allegations.
Allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey. It started when the band's former guitar tech Brian Diaz posted on Facebook, "So while we are on the topic of outing famous and semi-famous creeps, anyone want to speak up about Jesse Lacey from Brand New?" and then added, "There are some ladies I know on here who, FOR SURE, have told me about indiscretions that can be attributed to him. Now is not the time to be silent. I have been quiet about this for too long, and honestly it probably hasn't done much good." A few of the replies suggested that this has been known for some time. In tweets that have since been made private, Diaz says that he has been made aware of more allegations against Lacey that he isn't at liberty to share, saying, "I've had several, now grown women, come forward publicly with similar stories. I'm inclined to believe them. I will not repeat their stories without their consent. And this is just from women I personally know." He continues, "This has nothing to do with being a fan or not. I've already heard several women come forward with similar stories. Either you choose to believe it or not. I'm just putting it out there. It's been put out there in the past." Since Brian's initial post, one woman has made come forward with allegations, and we found four other newly surfaced secondhand accounts of similar behavior.
Nicole Elizabeth Garey came forward in the comments on Diaz's Facebook post, detailing her experience with Lacey. Garey consented to having her comments made public, which read:
YES. He solicited nudes from me starting when I was 15 and he was 24. Manipulated the hell out of me, demanded specific poses/settings/clothing, demeaned me, and made it clear that my sexuality was the only thing I had to offer. He knew what he was doing was sh*tty so he wouldn’t touch me until I was 19. I should’ve known better by then, but he had screwed me up so much psychologically that all I wanted was his approval. It fucked me up to the point that I STILL have nightmares and wakeup in a sweat. I still breakdown and have panic attacks when people play Brand New in a bar. JESSE LACEY IS A PIECE OF SH*T
OH AND YES HE MADE ME WATCH HIM MASTURBATE ON SKYPE. Apparently that’s a common thing with sexual predators. I took screen shots at some point, they’re probably on a computer in my basement if I ever really wanted to rehash my past that much (I don’t think I do).
Garey also spoke more about it to Substream Magazine, who reported that "her interaction with Lacey ended around the time she was 22" and that "she now understands what was happening to her, but that was not always the case." She also wrote on Facebook:
Unfortunately I didn’t realize that until I was around 25 and had spent some time in rehab. It’s still hard for me to write this or re-read it and not say “I thought I was smarter than that.” I know deep down that it’s more complicated, but it’s just gut-wrenching to even think about. How did I allow that to keep happening? Why didn’t I speak up sooner? I was a kid, but like all teenagers, I thought I was an adult. I was very wrong.
And told Substream:
I never wanted to come forward because it didn’t seem bad enough and it wasn’t physically violent, but sexual abuse comes in different levels and forms and all of it is unacceptable. It has taken years for me to realize the extent to which his actions have harmed me, and continues to harm me, especially now that I have a daughter of my own. I spent years in denial, I tried to drink it away, I tried to run to different cities, but it always followed me and it always will. I wish him no harm, but I hope that some day he can see the effects of his behavior and make a change for the sake of our children.
Garey also told Substream that she has tried to tell her story before and it has caused her to lose friends and relationships. Another person commented on Brian Diaz's Facebook post saying a similar thing: "He has been outed. Several times over. Nobody cared. That is why people don’t speak up."
Twitter user @CassandraRules describes seeing Lacey with a teenage girl at a house party:
Another Twitter user, @spookyoolong, alleges Lacey had an inappropriate relationship with a high school friend:
@ryn_johnson claims to have a friend who had similar interactions with Lacey, as well:
The music scene and the advent of the internet age really fostered a weird dynamic...it was...a pretty positive and inclusive community until cliquishness took over.
But, unfortunately it also created a weird power dynamic where these artists were easily accessible. With that a lot of young girls were also easily accessible to these artists as well.
That's definitely the case with the story that I spoke about. It all was seemed innocent enough albeit a little bit weird that Jesse showed so much interest in a 15 year old fan. This was 2006 or 2007 so he really had no business keeping such an open line of communication with somebody that young.
It took a turn for the weird when actual screenshots of my friend's conversation with him came out and Jesse was overtly flirtatious and saying things like "I wish you were older than 15." I'm not the only one who saw them and I've been talking to a few of them about it.
Like I said on twitter I told the friend that it wasn't appropriate and he was grooming her. Being a 17 year old, who wasn't even sure who I was as a person and dealing with trying to mature myself I took her word for it that didn't go any further than that...Looking back I regret not bringing what I had seen to somebody else.
@michelledeidre says she's seen Lacey be a "creep and absolute jerk to women (this was back in high school, so 2002-2004)":
UPDATE: In a now deleted tweet, a tipster let us know that Fences told a now-deleted story about a friend and Jesse on Twitter last night. Anybody see that?
We reached out to Brand New's representatives for comment and have not heard back at this time.
Meanwhile, UK band Martha dropped off their opening slot on two Brand New shows following these sexual misconduct allegations.
UPDATE: Jesse has issued a statement.