The allegations against Bassnectar come amidst a slew of other disturbing claims against high-profile DJs that have rocked the dance industry these last two years.
TRIGGER WARNING: rape and sexual assault.
For years, the music festival circuit has downplayed the risk of sexual assault.
Camp Bisco's safety guidelines don't mention assault or harassment at all, and merely state that "event producers are not responsible for attendees' actions." Bigger festivals such as Coachella mention "sexual harassment" in their "Every One" promise but follow up the pledge with vague reprimands, stating that harassers are subject to "immediate removal from the festival site." Suffolk, England's Latitude Festival takes it one step further and offers an ambiguous list of "personal safety" tips, including that festival-goers should "keep their wits" about them.
While rape and sexual assault aren't as prevalent as drug-related offenses at music festivals, festivals of all shapes and sizes have faced major criticism over the years for not doing enough to protect their attendees from assault or harassment. These accusations aren't exclusive to EDM festivals by any means, but mounting accusations of rape, pedophilia, and human trafficking against the scene's biggest stars in the last few years have revealed the dance scene to be an especially toxic breeding ground for pedophiles and rapists.
Bassnectar, the wobbly drum and bass artist who for years has maintained a cult-like following within the dance scene, was today the subject of fresh allegations of grooming and raping teenage girls after similar allegations caused the DJ to "step back" from music last year.
The disturbing charges surfaced via a lawsuit filed by accusers Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling, who said that Bassnectar – real name Lorin Ashton – not only groomed and assaulted them without protection while they were minors, but that the DJ's team was well aware of his actions. The suit reads that there was "a running joke among those associated with Bassnectar that he would have to find a date at a high school dance," and accuses his management company of trying to silence Bowling and Ramsbottom via hush payments.
But the allegations against Bassnectar are only the latest to plague the EDM community, and they come amidst a slew of other disturbing claims against high-profile DJs that have rocked the industry the last two years.
Earlier this year, the dubstep DJ SNAILS also denied allegations of sexual assault from multiple women. As word of misconduct against Bassnectar first started making the rounds back in June of 2020, accusations of rape and sexual assault were also leveled against esteemed Hip-Hop/house producer Graves in the same month. House DJ Billy Kenny also faced similar accusations that summer and offered a Facebook apology that was so poorly received by fans that he ended up scrapping it entirely.
The pattern continued beyond that summer. In September of 2020, the late Erick Morillo, whose hit song "I Like to Move It" soundtracked Dreamworks' Madagascar, had also been accused of rape by two well-known female DJs. Come November, the famed techno DJ Derrick May faced similar accusations of sexual assault from four different women.
That's not to mention the allegations of rape that had already soiled the careers of Space Jesus and Datsik, two other bass music figureheads, each of whom faced multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct, both in 2020 and in 2019 while they were on tour together. Datsik was dropped by both his management company and booking agency as a result.
Bassnectar is the most high-profile dance figure to face such disturbing allegations so far, but the emerging pattern indicates that a larger reckoning is long overdue and needs to happen from the bottom up so that fans and festival-goers can finally find the genuine safety they seek within the festival and dance circuits. The problem here is undoubtedly systemic and always has been.
Every aforementioned artist has vehemently denied the allegations against them, but it's worth noting that these accusations were not only under-reported by media outlets but that many of the accusers have since faced backlash and gaslighting.
This past March, Space Jesus filed a lawsuit against one of his accusers, and Bassnectar's culty fanbase, who is already loathed amongst festival-goers due to their incessant and sloppy love for the DJ, have taken to blogs and social media in order to loosely justify the despicable actions of their beloved artist and in turn gaslight the accused.
"Bassheads are given a succinct and holistic third-person story about a man who was just that – a man," writes Conscious Electronic. "Imagine holding one's self up as beacon (sic) of love and light and being forced to face how you were grooming gaslighting and psychologically manipulating young, impressionable women."
Imagine how Bassnectar must be feeling? Regardless of whether longtime Bassheads believe the accusations to be credible or not, there remains a dangerous pattern of victim-blaming amongst them that has since inundated the internet with toxic narratives that the EDM community needs to stop indulging in.
"Why are we talking about the issue in black-and-white terms when we know the issue is not that easy?" Conscious Electronic continues. "Because it has been framed on cancel culture's moralistic terms."
The claims against Bassnectar are not consequences of cancel culture, but rather his actions are undoubtedly a problem connected to the unchecked power that comes with having a god-like status in pop culture. Taken together, these reports paint a disturbing picture of the EDM community as a whole. EDM circles have long been advertised as particularly loving and uninhibited communities, but it's clear that many of the movement's pioneering figureheads know exactly how to take advantage of that.