Thrasher x VANS Death Match at Knockdown Center - Saturday
Culture Abuse at Thrasher Death Match NYC in 2018 (more by Angela Owens)

Earlier today, Culture Abuse frontman David Kelling posted an open letter where he wrote, “As these stories come up with how toxic the music scene has been, I have to recognize where I have been guilty of similar behaviors,” and going on to detail one particular instance: “10 years ago I was 22 and slept with a 17-year-old. I led her on and pressured her and over time left the relationship without checking in on her feelings. Now come to find out it caused pain that she has had to deal with all the time. She did not deserve that in any way. We spoke on the phone today with both of our partners present and she said she accepted my apology, although she didn’t have to.”

The band have now announced they have broken up. In a statement on their Instagram, they write that in light of recent events, “we have decided to no longer continue with this band.” They go on to write:

We have experienced David‘s erratic behavior before but we always took it as an immense passion for this band and David’s ultimate goals in music. Some people can say that this was our way of allowing David‘s behavior to continue but we looked at it as a support system to help a person change. However with the lack of honesty from David about his roles in abuse against women and its severity, we ultimately led David to not hold himself accountable and for that we are extremely sorry. Because we do believe people can change with a lot of hard work, without self accountability there can be no change. We will no longer open the associate with David because of his actions, however we feel it is important that David seeks therapy to unlearn his past behavior and attitude and ensure other victims and survivors receive the justice they deserve and to most importantly prevent further abuse. This is not just David’s issue it is our issue, it is a men’s misconduct issue.

Along with the letter, the band have also shared a statement from a victim. The writer of the victim’s story said she first met Kelling at 16, and that she was “pressured into phone sex” by him at 17. She continues that “he would ask and pressure me into performing sexual acts in public (I was still underage).” Later, she says that she found out that Kelling “had shown/sent my underage nude photos to other adults.” You can read the letter in full below.

Culture Abuse also write that their Instagram account name will be “changed to extract the word ‘abuse’ and will no longer be used to promote what this band was, we will use this platform to educate and share information and important articles for abusers and victims.” They continue: “This is a mens issue, and we are aware of how many men follow this account specifically, so it is our duty to hold each other accountable and in hopes create a safe community for all. Although it is far from perfect, we believe the music scene should be a safe place for everyone involved. We truly hope that anyone that has been hurt can start the long healing process and that it may be a wake up call to anyone engaging in abusive behavior.”

You can read Culture Abuse’s open letter, along with the victim’s statement, in full below.