Ryan Adams has been accused of various abusive and coercive behaviors by multiple women, including Mandy Moore, Phoebe Bridgers and Courtney Jaye, as well as one fan, now 20, who says she sexted with the musician when she was a minor, according to a shocking New York Times report. Adams denied the allegations via both his attorney and Twitter.
The Times spoke with “seven women and more than a dozen associates” of Adams in establishing “a pattern of manipulative behavior in which Adams dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex.” Their report describes Adams as reacting vengefully to women—including Moore, Bridgers and Jaye—who rejected his advances, retaliating with harassment and abuse both verbal and emotional.
Most disturbing among the allegations against Adams is the account of Ava, with whom Adams reportedly had numerous “sexual conversations”—the Times reviewed thousands of text messages the two exchanged when Ava was only 15 and 16 years old, reporting that Adams exposed himself to her on Skype and solicited photos from her. Adams, who was in his late 30s when they first struck up an online relationship in 2013, is reported to have been fixated on Ava’s age—he wrote in one text, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.” Ava, who herself was an aspiring musician, says her experiences with Adams “just totally put me off to the whole idea” of pursuing music.
“Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” Adams’ attorney Andrew B. Brettler told the Times, categorically denying their report’s “extremely serious and outlandish accusations.” Brettler later adds that “if, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware,” saying that she looked “approximately 20” in photos from that time.
Ava’s account is the tip of a very upsetting iceberg. Bridgers and Jaye describe Adams using his music-industry clout to offer them opportunities for career advancement, which he would then intertwine with romantic pursuits—when those evaporated, so did his offers to work with them. Meanwhile, Adams’ ex-wife, singer and actress Moore, told the Times that Adams used music as “a point of control,” assuming control of her music career in the early days of their relationship and using his own success as emotional ammunition against her—“He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument,’” Moore told the Times. And Adams’ ex-fiancee Megan Butterworth describes a similarly “controlling and emotionally abusive partner,” recounting everything from online harassment and social coercion to physical intimidation.
Adams, through his attorney, disputes aspects of all four women’s accounts, dismissing some of their allegations as “grousing by disgruntled individuals.”
Shortly before this writing’s publication, Adams responded to the Times report directly in a series of tweets embedded below.
Paste has reached out to representatives for Adams for further comment. You can read the Times report in full here.