Legendary thrash metal band Megadeth has fired co-founding bassist Dave Ellefson after sexual misconduct allegations recently surfaced against the musician. In a statement posted Monday by Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine, the vocalist and lead guitarist made it clear that the band would be moving forward without Ellefson. "We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him," the statement began.
"We do not take this decision lightly," Mustaine continued. "While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward. We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete."
Mustaine and Ellefson co-founded Megadeth in the early '80s, with Ellefson leaving in 2002 and then returning in 2010. Earlier this month, sexual grooming allegations emerged against Ellefson, which he has denied. He claimed that clips of his communications with a fan, which went viral, were "private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family." He also shared a purported statement from the fan themselves, in which they claimed the interactions were "consensual."
"Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate them and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that," read a post alleged to have been written by the woman. "It was all consensual, I'm not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it. I was just naive enough to record him and share it with a friend without his permission. In the end, it was all consensual and all online."
Following the controversy, Megadeth issued a statement on the situation, saying "We are aware of the recent statements regarding David Ellefson, and are watching developments closely. As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another. However, there are clearly aspects of David's private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light." At this time, Ellefson does not appear to have commented on his exit from Megadeth.