On Friday, Jesse Lacey of the emo band band Brand New was accused in a since-deleted public Facebook thread of sexual misconduct with a minor, including masturbating over the internet and soliciting nude photos. The following day, Lacey posted an apology for "the actions of my past" on Brand New's Facebook page. It did not address the specific allegations posted in the Facebook thread. Brand New announced on Monday that its remaining European tour dates would be cancelled "due to the events of the last few days."
On Monday evening Pitchfork published a new report on Lacey's conduct. It features statements from two of Lacey's accusers, including Nicole Elizabeth Garey, who posted in the original public Facebook thread. The women both claim that Lacey engaged in predatory behaviour when they were under the age of 18. Both women claim Lacey solicited nude photos, masturbated over webcam, and manipulated them psychologically.
Garey told the site she first met Lacey in 2003, when she was 15, while photographing a Brand New show in upstate New York. The 24-year-old Lacey gave Garey his email address, and began asking her to take nude photographs of herself and send them, which she did. Garey alleges that he would claim to have deleted the photographs from his computer, and encourage her to send more.
“You’re flattered because [the singer of] one of your favorite bands is interested in you and nobody’s taken interest in you before,” Garey told Pitchfork. “I didn’t really see it for what it was because when you’re a teenager you think, ‘I know everything, I’m an adult.’”
Garey said she had no further contact with Lacey after an incident in her early 20s, when she claims Lacey masturbated over a webcam session. “I know I should’ve turned it off, but there’s something in me that couldn’t,” she told Pitchfork. “This will definitely stay with me for the rest of my life.”
The second accuser speaking to Pitchfork is named Emily Driskill, 32, who said she met Garey when she was 16, a concert photographer and music journalist. After a period of correspondence over instant messages, they met in person for an interview — Lacey allegedly made “lots of comments about [her] body and breasts,” Driskill said. “He was the first person to ever tell me that I was hot. In hindsight as an adult woman, I know I was preyed on.”
Driskill also claims that Garey asked her to send him nude photos. She also alleges “countless masturbatory video chat sessions,” and “[attempts] to manipulate [her] into engaging in sexual situations with other people, on camera, for his viewing pleasure.” If she denied his requests, Driskill said, Carey would withhold access to Brand New, which Driskill was a fan of. “There were a lot of instances where if I didn’t want to participate, or if I didn’t want to take my clothes off and take photos, he would say, ‘OK, well, I guess I won’t be seeing you the next time I come to Houston,’” Driskill said.
Driskill describes an assault that allegedly took place backstage at a Brand New show in Austin in 2002, when she was 18. “I was walking around with him to find his backpack, and then it went from zero to 60 when he closed the door,” she said. “He pinned me against the wall with his knee between my legs.” The incident marked one allegation of “several instances of coercion during physically intimate situations” instigated by Lacey against Driskill.
Driskill said she and Lacey kept in contact until she was 23. She added that she suffers from lingering effects from her alleged relationship with Lacey. “When you’re groomed like that, you don’t know how to have a peaceful, loving, fulfilling relationship with anybody,” Driskill told Pitchfork. “Instead you think, ‘Oh, I have to get naked, I have to say dirty shit, I have to be at this person’s beck and call.’”
Brand New did not respond to "multiple" requests for comment from Pitchfork. The FADER has also reached out.