Warning: This article contains stories involving sexual misconduct which may be distressing to readers.
Pierce The Veil have announced that drummer Mike Fuentes is set to step away from the band for a period of time, as allegations of sexual misconduct between him and a 15 and 16-year-old minor have surfaced.
As Loudwire notes, a user on Twitter recently posted a series of messages and photos on behalf of her friend who claimed that she entered into a relationship with 23-year-old Mike Fuentes when she was 16. Soon after, another user on Twitter alleged that Fuentes took a similar approach when she was only 15. “For anyone who doesn’t believe the accusations coming out today: MIKE FUENTES asked me for nudes when I was FIFTEEN,” she claimed.
Earlier today, Pierce The Veil took to Facebook to address the allegations that have been made against Mike Fuentes, stating that in addition to the drummer taking an extended break from the group, they are also set to drop out of their upcoming UK tour as the support act for All Time Low.
“Recently, an allegation was made about Mike from an anonymous source pertaining to events dating back nearly ten years ago,” the group wrote on Facebook, before including a statement from Mike Fuentes.
“I’m of course aware of the allegation made about me from almost ten years ago, and I cannot begin to describe how difficult and disturbing this entire situation has been for everyone involved,” Fuentes wrote. “I do not take this allegation lightly and would never downplay it. I have empathy for any human being who has experienced abuse or mistreatment in their lives, and I am inspired to see so many come forward and speak out about it.
“No one should have to suffer in silence, and I am thankful that the world is finally starting to listen,” he continued. “I also want to assure you that I have never intentionally manipulated or abused anyone in my life. That is not the person I am, how I was raised, or the type of behavior that I condone. I strongly believe in the empowerment of abuse victims, so if I have ever made anyone feel like they are less than equal, I am sincerely sorry.”
“I love playing music more than anything on earth, and I am constantly humbled by the support of our fans. I do not want the allegation surrounding me to negatively affect the reputation or future of the band, or to break the bond and trust that we have created with our fans over the years.”
“So, I have decided to take a break and step away from my position in the band in hopes that this will allow my band mates and fans to continue focusing on the music and message that Pierce The Veil stands for. Though I am far from perfect, I do have a moral compass and try to stand up for what is right. While away from the band, I will continue to work hard to live my life in that way.”
The group continued their statement, noting that since news of these allegations first broken they have discussed how to continue to make sure their fanbase and community remains safe for all fans and followers. “We’ve made many efforts over the years to protect our fans, and we can and will do more,” they wrote. “We believe in creating spaces where people can seek help for any issues they are struggling with and provide resources and tools to help.”
The news comes just days after more than 900 women in the music industry signed the widely reported #meNOmore Open Letter, to demand zero tolerance for sexual harassment, violence, objectification and sexist behaviours.
If you or somebody you care for has experienced sexual assault, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 to speak to a counsellor.