American metalcore band The Ghost Inside have kicked out bassist Jim Riley, after a past racist comment resurfaced. In a statement released on social media, the band explained that while the other members did not "hear these words spoken directly from his mouth," they "have decided to part ways" with Riley. They added that they had previously heard "mutterings of the incident," but presumed it was just a rumor.
"The Ghost Inside was born from a scene of forward thinking, understanding and progressiveness," the band stated. "Our music and message has always been one of hope and finding that light at the end of the tunnel." The band added, "Racism and bigotry of any kind stifle that journey towards the light. It closes and locks doors that need to be broken open." The remaining members feel that "should’ve dug deeper" and "spoken up" sooner, and they fully "acknowledge" their silence. "We are self educating and growing and learning as individuals," they added. "We are here to say that we as a band fully condemn racism and support the black community in the fight against systemic racism."
The situation was sparked by a t-shirt the band released on Thursday, which read "What Do You Stand For?" The band stated that 100 percent of the profits from the shirt would go to benefit the NAACP. This prompted Rashod Jackson — the drummer for hardcore metal band Bracewar — to speak out, tweeting that Riley has once called The Ghost Inside's "bus driver a n—." He also re-shared one of his old tweets from 2015, that publicly called out Riley for his use of the slur.
Riley eventually took to Twitter himself, admitting what he did, and saying that he recalled Jackson calling him out back in 2015. "I deserved it, and I apologized to him," Riley added. He also called his words "shameful and f—ing embarrassing," and stated that he caused him take a hard "look in the mirror" regarding his attitude and behaviors. Jackson replied, making it clear that he does not accept Riley's apology, tweeting, "Apologize to ME. Apologize to my f—ing PEOPLE. You were a coward then and an even bigger coward now." He then added that as long as Riley remained in The Ghost Inside, he would "make sure you NEVER play a show. Mark my words."
Following the situation with Riley, Jackson began to get some heat for past homophobic slurs he used in tweets between 2010 and 2013. In response he stated that he had been "called out" on these posts by "mulitple friends," and that he has "apologized." He then added, "At the time i didn’t feel like a public apology was needed cause different times and different generations. At that time, you couldn’t scroll without seeing that word."
Jackson went on to say that he believes it was "absolutely" wrong of him to use the slur, ands that — while it's "still not right" — he never "called anyone that word in harm." Jackson concluded his message, " I owned up to it and held myself accountable and dismissed the word. Having said that, this isn’t about what I’ve said. It’s about Jim."