Jeffrey Lewis show cut short after he declined to comment on Chris Clavin allegations
At a recent show at CA's Bridgetown DIY, Jeffrey Lewis was asked his opinion midshow on the accusations of abuse against Chris Clavin, owner of Plan-It-X Records and member of Ghost Mice. He declined to comment specifically on the situation, instead saying that everyone deserves a fair trial. Shortly after this, representatives at the venue decided to cut the show short.
Jeffrey made a statement on facebook after the show:
Public Statement From Jeffrey Lewis
To whom it may concern, I apologize for some of my actions at Bridgetown DIY last night in La Puente CA, which may have added confusion to a difficult situation.
I was speaking off-the-cuff in a knee-jerk manner, without entirely knowing what I was speaking about, but the fact of my personal ignorance of the details should have been the first thing out of my mouth when a venue representative ran up on stage and demanded a public statement from me. I stand by the generalities of my response, that everybody deserves a fair trial, and that includes Chris Clavin, the man who is being accused of at least one case of sexual assault and multiple cases of sexual harassment. But while a court of law is good for many things, calling out sexual misconduct is not something to casually shunt aside into the legal system; calling out and shutting down sexual assault and harassment is, unfortunately for many, a daily necessity. Victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment must be heard out, and the non-consensual and/or victimizing activity must be called out and shut down. I know the act of calling it out can be difficult and confusing. Those people who speak out deserve our support, never our casual dismissal. I completely disavow the disgusting behavior that some humans feel they can get away with; and I completely agree that those who do stand up and speak out are in many ways our best line of defense.
I will probably write more about all of this soon. I need a bit of time to process. I was a fan of Chris Clavin’s work, and the accusations that I read against him today have left me shaken and confused (and have changed my perception of what happened last night at Bridgetown DIY).
I owe my biggest apology to the women who made the accusations in the document, because justice and safety for THEM is what this should have all been about (rather than the divisive fracas that broke out at Bridgetown DIY when a lot of confused fans didn’t know why they were having their show shut down by one or two individuals who seemingly popped up out of nowhere). By not reading your statements before I opened my mouth, I myself was guilty of dismissing you. I’m sorry. I was put on the spot and I thought I was doing the right thing. I hope to do better in the future.
Bridgetown DIY, where Clavin himself performed earlier in August, released a statement of their own, as well:
As we are sure many of you have read by now, multiple allegations of sexual assault/harassment have been raised against Chris Clavin of Ghost Mice/Plan-It-X Records.
It's unfortunate that this information was only just brought to us this past week, much too late for us to prevent Chris from performing at the space earlier this month. As a collective we want to make it very clear that we stand with and, more importantly, BELIEVE survivors of sexual assault. Our hearts go out to those affected by this particular event and all others facing similar traumas.
In light of Jeffrey Lewis’ scheduled performance at Bridgetown, an individual, who is not associated with our collective, asked him to add his voice to the growing chorus of condemnation regarding the allegations involving Chris Clavin, as well as in support of the survivors in this situation.
However, Lewis refused to do this, instead making it clear that he did not feel comfortable making any sort of definitive statement. Instead, Lewis wrote a detailed response in which he likened the calls for accountability to the Salem Witch Trials and the Red Scare.
This information was brought to the attention of our collective, literally during the course of his performance at the space. Because of this, the collective held a snap meeting and came to the conclusion that allowing the performance to continue was not in the best interest of Bridgetown nor those calling for Clavin’s accountability.
Immediately in response to the show being cut short, the vast majority of people in attendance were upset and demanded a refund on the door price. Some individuals threatened collective members with physical violence for ending the show - luckily those collective members were able to deescalate this situation.
Lewis himself was willing to engage in a civil conversation by addressing the concerns raised by the collective, stressing that he felt that spaces like Bridgetown were important in allowing these sorts of critical discussions to take place. However, no definitive conclusion was reached through this discussion.
It is crystal clear to the collective that allowing the show to continue, after having been informed of Lewis' statement, would be a tacit endorsement of apologism in an incredibly delicate and ongoing situation - something that the collective is fundamentally opposed to.
Money was returned to anyone asking for a refund.
Meanwhile, Clavin previously issued a statement responding to the allegations before deleting his social media entirely, saying that he couldn't comment publicly beyond his intention to start therapy and quit his band, record label, and publishing company after settling his affairs. After that, Clavin also sent out emails to some friends regarding his accountability:
I accept accountability for my actions. I am deeply sorry for the pain that they have caused. I hold my self accountable and I accept being held accountable by my friends and members of my community.
I want to change and make sure I never do things like this again.
These are the things I will do and the reasons I think they will help.
I will also be open to what others ask of me to do. But for now this is what I can do for me.
I will immediately start weekly (or more) therapy sessions and take medication if my therapist thinks it will help. I will do this to attempt to understand my actions and the pain that they have caused. I will do this to try and learn how to communicate better and accept criticism and advice from my friends and loved ones. I will also do this to work on my depression which has grown out of control over the last few years.
I will also stop drinking once and for all. I will attend AA meetings and cut alcohol completely from my life. I am in no way attempting to use alcoholism or being drunk as any kind of excuse or justification for my actions. But I have noticed that when I started drinking (which was much later in life than most people) I started doing things that surprised me. I can control when I drink and how much I drink, but I cannot seem to control my behavior when I drink. It has taken me until now to truly realize this to be true. Drinking has shown me a darker and irresponsible side of myself that I can no longer allow to be in my life. I drank more as I became more depressed, instead of seeking real help.
I have been removed, and plan to stay removed from the DIY music scene. I have denied the existence of social capitol before, but now I understand that I did, in fact wield quite a lot of it. I wanted to believe that punk rock was above that and that all punks knew that they were equal. I wanted to believe that people only liked me for who I was and not my position as a person in a band, or a person running a label. This was naive and untrue and kept me from seeing the social power others saw.
I acknowledge that I need to be more aware of my age. I need to be aware of how I communicate and interact with people younger than me (and in general) and how it effects them. I have spent a lot of this past year, drunk and alone, communicating with people without taking consideration for how it effects them. This should not be excused and I will address these things directly in therapy. I will also no longer engage in person social relationships with young people.
I have ignored many of my friends advice in regards to ways I could battle my depression, such as simple daily living things, like exercise and better eating (and not drinking of course). I will not ignore that advice anymore.
I write this with the most sincerity possible. I am not writing this to save my reputation, which I understand fully that I have ruined. I write this for this people that I have hurt and the people that care about me to let them know that I am sorry and that I hear them. I care about them. I will become a better person for them (and for myself) making sure that I never make the same mistakes.
I know that this is serious. I am going to a walk in clinic first thing tomorrow morning and an AA meeting as well. I understand that I need help and I am going to seek it.
Several bands associated with Plan-It-X Records or Clavin, including AJJ, Kimya Dawson, and Waxahatchee, already made statements splitting from the label and denouncing Clavin. More statements have been coming in, including ones below from Japanther and Terror Pigeon: