Content warning: This article discusses sexual misconduct
More accusations of misconduct have been levelled at The Growlers, this time from Arrow de Wilde, singer of LA rock band Starcrawler.
ICYMI The Growlers were at the centre of a number of allegations recently aimed at indie label Burger Records, which ultimately led to the label shutting down.
Members of the band were accused of a number of acts of misconduct, including rape, asking underage fans to take their tops off for free concert tickets and groping female journalists.
Now, Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde has shared her own story of an incident involving the band, which allegedly happened while both bands were touring Australia together at the start of this year.
Taking to Instagram, she wrote: “For the past 6 months I’ve been struggling with something that happened on tour this year involving The Growlers. I’ve been unsure whether or not to share this story publicly as I’ve been dealing with it in my private life and it’s a hard one for me to tell. The bravery of everyone that’s come forward has given me hope, but after every one of the accusations against them has been either denied or brushed off as ‘old behaviour’ I feel obliged to share this very recent experience.”
She then went on to detail an incident that occurred after her band’s set in Melbourne, where The Growlers allegedly filmed a male stripper sexually assaulting her.
Her statement continued:
“During the last song of the set, my band continues to play as I exit off stage. I entered the dressing room and was immediately ushered onto a couch. I sat down, barely had a moment to catch my breath (drenched in sweat & fake blood), when all of a sudden a dude in a paramedic uniform bursts into the room. It’s very common that this happens so I didnt think much of it (a lot of venues will think that they stage blood is real and send a medic to me backstage). Soon after he bursts into the room, he rips off his uniform and music starts playing. I realized then, it’s a male stripper & begin to laugh as it honestly was pretty funny to me at first.
My bandmates tried to get backstage but the doors have now been locked (which I later found out). The stripper, giant muscles and all, grabbed me, put me in a chair, and started to give me a lapdance. The humor faded pretty fast when it just wouldn’t end. I swear it went on for almost ten minutes. Every time I tried to get up he pushed me back down. It started to feel more and more degrading as each layer of clothing peeled off his body, the growlers just continued to laugh and film the whole thing. Soon he was down to a speedo and I knew where it was headed.
I closed my eyes and put my hands over my face as I felt his bare dick and balls rubbing and pressing against my chest and face as he continued to hold me down. I started to feel really panicked. My heart was beating so fast. I’ve never seen a striptease like this before. Everyone in the growlers were standing all around me, laughing and taking videos the whole time, no one ever stepped in. Once it was finally over, I ran to the bathroom to collect myself (aka cry) and wash the dick off my face. Everyone was still laughing and rewatching the videos to see my facial expression, talking about how “shocked” I was. I later found out that the whole thing was Brooks’ idea & that it cost them a few hundred bucks, which to me is a pretty expensive joke.
In a statement to Pitchfork, Starcrawler guitarist Henri Cash has also corroborated de Wilde’s story. According to him, when the band were finally able to get into the dressing room, they “saw a naked man standing over Arrow”.
“Arrow was very upset and told me the whole story right after in the bathroom,” he said. “We were all shocked and horrified and didn’t know what to do.”
Nielsen has since issued his own statement responding to this and other mounting allegations. He took to Instagram to write a blanket apology for any of the band’s actions that “have hurt, offended or damaged any person or made anyone feel less than 100% safe”, and added that he takes “full responsibility and accountability for the behavior of all Growlers’ band members, past and present”.
His statement continued:
“Most recently including lack of judgement in arranging a male stripper as an end-of-tour prank to dance for the great Arrow De Wilde, who I admire so much as a person, artist and performer. This was a horrible idea that turned out even worse.
To Arrow: I was supposed to take care of you. I was supposed to protect you. I let you, your bandmates and your family down. For that, I am forever sorry. I am deeply saddened that I’ve lost your friendship and trust. I hope that one day you can forgive me.”
Nielsen went on to say that Growlers co-founder and guitarist Matt Taylor would be “taking temporary leave from the band” in light of separate allegations of assault against him.
“Although he adamantly denies the allegations made against him, he has hired independent representation to best evaluate and navigate his situation.”
You can read both De Wilde and Nielsen’s statements below.
If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732.
For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.