Sexual Misconduct and Jesse Lacey of Brand New
I’m struggling with this one, guys. STRUGGLING. I really wish I wasn’t feeling conflicted over this, but I honestly am.
Since the initial Harvey Weinstein bomb, we have had a landslide of sexual harassment/abuse accusations coming out. One of the more recent ones being Jesse Lacey from Brand New.
This one was hard for me to hear. Of course I’m not comparing anything the fans are feeling to what the victims went through, but God damn, this sucks. It isn’t easy hearing that the singer of one of your favorite bands was a scumbag.
Brand New holds a very special place in my heart. I don’t know every single Brand New song, but the memories associated with this band are so dear to me. As every other early 2000’s emo kid, Soco Amaretto Lime was the anthem of my friend group. We have Brand New tattoos and have been to their concerts multiple times. Brand New is OUR THING.
There are now 3 women who have come forward to reveal that Brand New’s frontman Jesse Lacey sexually harassed them when they were underage. One girl claims she was 15 years old when a 24 year old Lacey was asking her for nudes and sending her videos of himself masturbating.
Obviously this is NOT okay. I’m at that age where I’ve started to think about how I would feel if certain things happened to my children and I would absolutely flip my shit if this happened to my teenage daughter. Hell, if I had a 24 year old friend who was pursuing a 16 year old, I would absolutely be like, “what the fuck is wrong with you, dude?” It’s inappropriate, it’s illegal, and it can cause serious emotional trauma.
I also want to acknowledge that his apology was kind of bullshit too. It was a blanket statement that really didn’t address what actually happened. He mentioned struggling with a sex addiction, but I don’t really think that’s relevant to the apology these girls are due. Just fully be sorry, don’t give us your “buts.”
I’m having a hard time pinpointing exactly what is bothering me about this whole situation. I don’t want to downplay what happened because it really is fucked…but it’s 15 years later and Jesse Lacey is nearly 40. I don’t know if he’s still scummy, but I’m hoping those shitty band boy days are behind him.
I don’t want to write Jesse off as a shitty 24 year old, because that’s not fair to the teenage girls who were victimized by him. There are plenty of 24 year olds who don’t manipulate teenagers for nudes and sexual favors. I don’t want to say “boys will be boys”, I want to say “boys will be held accountable for their actions.” But it feels weird for me to completely hate him 15 years later.
Recently I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed by all these accusations, but I also understand that these women are finally finding the courage to come forward. And I think that’s incredible. It’s time we stand up and make it clear that men, especially men in power and the limelight, have no right to abuse/harass us.
I’ve talked this through with some friends who are Brand New-loving feminists and the general consensus is that we are conflicted. We love Brand New, but we hate what Jesse did. One of my friends is all the way on the fuck Jesse train, but I don’t know why I’m not fully on board with her.
So can we forgive Jesse Lacey for the shitty things he did when he was 24? Do we burn our Brand New shirts and cover up our tattoos? I’m really not sure.
What do you think?