IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Report of women's allegations against Ryan Adams prompts responses by music figures

The singer-producer said the report of the allegations paints a picture that is "upsettingly inaccurate."
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams in New York on Sept 17, 2015.Dan Hallman / Invision/AP file

Prominent women in music voiced their support on Wednesday for other women who allege in a newly published report that the musician and producer Ryan Adams subjected them to emotional and verbal abuse that was in some cases tied to sexual overtures. Adams denies the accusations.

The allegations were reported Wednesday in an article in The New York Times, which said, "In interviews, seven women and more than a dozen associates described a pattern of manipulative behavior in which Adams dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex."

In some cases, the article said, women alleged that "he would turn domineering and vengeful, jerking away his offers of support when spurned, and subjecting women to emotional and verbal abuse."

Adams, 44 — a multiple Grammy nominee as a performer who is equally as well known as a producer for other prominent artists — denied the allegations in a statement Wednesday, saying that "the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate."

"Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false," Adams said. Referring to allegations from a former musician who told The Times that Adams pursued her sexually when she was a minor, he added: "I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period."

"I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes," Adams said in his statement. "To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly."

Of the seven women cited in the story, four are quoted by name, including Mandy Moore, a singer and actor who is Adams' ex-wife, and Phoebe Bridgers, a singer-songwriter whose debut record was released on Adams' label.

The Times said it had corroborated the allegations described in the story with family members or friends who were present at the time and by reviewing extensive correspondence from Adams.

Moore told the newspaper that Adams exploited and stifled her ambitions when they were together. "Music was a point of control for him," she said.

Bridgers alleged that when she broke off what she described as an abusive romantic relationship, Adams rescinded an offer to appear on stage with her.

Adams told The Times through his attorney that Moore's description was "completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship" and that he was supportive of her "well-deserved professional success." Of the allegations by Bridgers, the lawyer said she and Adams had "a brief consensual fling."

Another woman is referred to by her middle name in the article because she was a minor at the time of her alleged interactions with Adams.

"When Adams began corresponding online with a fan, Ava, in 2013, she was a 14-year-old bass player already forging a career," The Times said. "But their correspondence about music turned into graphic texting. Eventually, Ava said, they conducted video calls on Skype, where Adams exposed himself during phone sex."

Adams' attorney told The Times that the singer didn't recall the exchanges. "Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” said the lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler.

In response to the article, some other well-known figures in music — many of them women — published posts on social media expressing support for the alleged victims and outrage about what some said they recognized as a pattern of women being offered help in the industry with, as one put it, "strings attached."

NBC News is linking to but not displaying some of the tweets because they include profanity.

Carl Newman, the leader and a founder of the influential alt/indie band The New Pornographers, said in a long Twitter thread that he witnessed what he characterized as Adams' abusive behavior toward an ex-girlfriend firsthand "one night long ago."

Newman said that when he confronted Adams about his behavior, Adams made motions as if to throw a drink in his face before his ex-girlfriend stopped him.

"After the attempted drink throw, she grabbed him and pushed him away," Newman wrote. "Police were nearby and only saw what she did. They put her in handcuffs. I yelled at him and he smirked 'You’re just jealous'. Didn't try to help her or talk to cops but wrote a bland song about it."

The Grammy-nominated singer Margo Price tweeted a link to the Times article with the comment: "Proud of these brave women for speaking up."

The singer Natalie Prass, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter: "Believe women, believe survivors."

Prass, who didn't name Adams in her tweet, previously performed and toured with him in a collaboration that ended around 2015.

The music writer Jessica Hopper, the former editorial director of MTV News, wrote: "Literally find me a woman in the music industry who *hasn't* had a some dude pull that Ryan Adams 'I wanna help you' with strings attached s---?

"And like in this story, these are some of the reasons women abandon careers, keep their dreams private, record in their bedrooms alone," Hopper wrote on Twitter.

Responding to Hopper, the Tejano singer Veronique Medrano said that "this type of treatment has happened to me in the music industry and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has shrugged it off or just walked away from it."

Abbey Simmons, a tour manager and merchandise marketer for bands like Sleater-Kinney and the Dap Kings, tweeted: "Every time I've spoken up about a s----y man on tour, the man has never been fired, but I have."

The music writer Marissa Moss said on Twitter that she was especially concerned for women "who didn't feel safe enough" to speak out.

The music writer Caryn Rose tweeted: "this is the one we know about. what about all the other ones."

And the Grammy-nominated pop duo Sylvan Esso, which is fronted by Amelia Meath, tweeted simply: "always believe women."