Allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced against Ryan Adams, and the singer-songwriter is denying them.
Adams is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of his era, with some monumental projects to his name. He is also considered something of a tastemaker in the music industry, and in a report by the New York Times, several women have accused Adams of leveraging his position for sex — several of them underage. One of the most prominent voices speaking up against Adams is his ex-wife, Mandy Moore.
“Music was a point of control for him,” Moore said of her ex-husband.
If that were not enough, stories of Adams' predatory behavior were laid out in online correspondences with young artists, which the New York Times reportedly reviewed. The accounts were also backed up by friends, family members and acquaintances. Most told stories of the former Whiskeytown front-man offering to help younger female artists, slowly becoming controlling and manipulative, then using his industry clout to either get what he wanted or get revenge.
The women caught in Adams' pattern of behavior say they were abused emotionally and verbally. Many also say that they were harassed through texts and social media. The Times obtained thousands of those texts. Ultimately, these women said that they were exploited by Adams, and had their actual musical ambitions stifled.
The report specifically traces the relationship between Adams and a girl named Ava, who was 14 years old when she began communicating with Adams. Over 3,200 texts sent in a nine-month period show how simple career advice spiraled into graphic sexting between Ava and Adams. Later, she said that she video-chatted with Adams, and he exposed himself to her.
Adams' lawyer, Andrews B. Brettler, said that Adams did not remember corresponding with Ava. He also said that, despite the texts showing frequent, conflicting discussions of Ava's age, Adams has never knowingly sent sexual material to a minor.
“Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” Brettler said.
Speaking on Adams' behalf, Brettler also said that Adams does not "have the power to make or break careers," adding that the report contains “extremely serious and outlandish accusations.”
Adams has always been a controversial figure, with highly publicized struggles with substance abuse and mental health. He has also been an active user of social media since the days of MySpace, and has tended to communicated directly with fans. Brettler allowed that his client “has communications online with various fans and aspiring musicians,” but said that he he “does not recall having online communications with anyone related to anything outside of music.”
Three other women described years of manipulation by Adams, beginning with promises of professional help and then leading to sexting or even a sexual relationship. The report detailed their claims before turning to Moore. The singer-turned-actress has told her story before, but explained how she slowly discovered that other women had had similar experiences. They made a joint decision to share their stories, hoping to break the cycle.
“I want to make music,” Moore said. “I’m not going to let Ryan stop me.”