This past weekend, a document circulated on Reddit outlining an extensive history of misconduct and inappropriate behavior from three members of the Chicago garage rock outfit The Orwells. The document accuses Mario Cuomo, Henry Brinner and Grant Brinner of a number of instances of sexual abuse, detailed through first-hand accounts and screenshots of vulgar comments.
Following the public outcry, and denouncement from fellow Chicago musicians including Twin Peaks, Lala Lala, and Modern Vices, the band has cancelled an upcoming hometown show at Metro. The Orwells have also been scrubbed from their publicists' website.
On Monday afternoon the band responded to the claims, saying that they "emphatically deny these baseless allegations brought as a personal attack against" them. The statement goes on to say that "no member of the band has ever acted without consent or maliciously taken advantage of anyone," and that they "encourage anyone who's been affected by sexual abuse to speak up and make their abusers known." Read the entire statement below.
It’s come to our attention that certain allegations of abuse have been made against one or more of us on social media and in social circles of Chicago. We’d like to first state that sexual abuse in any form is abhorrent. We do not take these accusations lightly and consider this matter incredibly serious. We emphatically deny these baseless allegations brought as a personal attack against us.
While callow altercations and vulgar language we’ve used in the past must be recognized and owned up to, the accusations of sexual assault are completely unfounded. No member of this band has ever acted without consent or maliciously taken advantage of anyone. We encourage anyone who’s been affected by sexual abuse to speak up and make their abusers known; however we also encourage everyone to be cautious of the things they read and say on the Internet. No victim of abuse should be hesitant to make their voice heard and if someone does feel that we’ve hurt them, we encourage them to contact us properly and privately (not via social media or anonymously), as to respect their identity.
Matt, Mario, Dominic, Henry, and Grant