Raleigh, N.C. — A punk band has been dropped from this fall's Hopscotch Music Festival lineup amid sexual assault and anti-semitism allegations against one of its members.
The festival announced Friday afternoon that PWR BTTM, which is billed a queer funk duo, would not longer be performing.
"Each year, as we book and program artists, we do so with the intent on making Hopscotch Music Festival an inclusive, positive, and safe space for all members of our community. This week’s allegations against Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM are ones that we do not take lightly. It is absolutely necessary to believe and support survivors of abuse and to take steps toward holding abusers accountable. For these reasons, we have removed the band from our 2017 lineup," organizers announced via Facebook.
The allegations against Hopkins were made via a closed Facebook group DIY Chicago, according to several news outlets. He was accused of being a "known sexual predator" and making "unwanted advances on minors." The private comments made via Facebook were later posted on Twitter, sparking one touring musician to quit the band, according to Stereogum.
A photo of Hopkins posing on a beach next to a swastika drawn in the sand was also shared in the Facebook group. The photo, taken in 2011, first started circulating in December. Late last year, Hopkins responded to the controversy via Twitter, saying he was a "stupid kid" when the photo was taken. "It was from a time in my life where I thought being 'politically correct' was really funny and had literally no concept of my actions," Hopkins wrote.
Hopkins and bandmate Liv Bruce released a statement via Facebook responding to the accusations.
"The allegations come as a surprise, but we are trying to address them with openness and accountability," the band wrote. "Unfortunately we live in a culture which trivializes and normalizes violations of consent. There are people who have violated others’ consent and do not know. Ben has not been contacted by any survivor(s) of abuse. These allegations are shocking to us and we take them very seriously. Further, the alleged behavior is not representative of who Ben is and the manner in which they try to conduct themselves."
The band directed survivors or anyone working with survivors involved in these allegations to send an email to an address specifically designed to deal with the allegations. The band said a mediator would be handling the letters.
"Our primary goal here is to ensure that a survivor of abuse has a voice, that their story should be heard, and that people who cross the line should be held accountable. What this means for the band, our album, our fans and our upcoming tours is, as of yet, unclear. Music is everything to us, but we feel strongly that this matter needs to be addressed first. Updates forthcoming," the band continued.
Hopscotch Music Festival will take place September 7-10 at various venues in downtown Raleigh, including City Plaza and Red Hat Amphitheater. General admission and VIP wristbands are on sale now.
This year's headliners include Solange, Future Islands, Big Boi Run the Jewels, Angel Olsen and Margo Price.