Today, Beach Slang announced that guitarist Ruben Gallego has left the group, with the decision coming in light of sexual assault allegations that have been brought up against him. In a statement released by the band, the remaining members explain that Beach Slang “has always been and will always be a safe place for everyone,” so even though the allegations against Gallego apparently involve an event that occurred several years ago, they thought it was best to distance themselves from him as quickly as possible.
This all comes just as Beach Slang is embarking on an extensive tour in support of its new album, A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings, with the statement explaining that the shows—especially one happening tonight—will be performed acoustically. The full Beach Slang statement is below.
For us, Beach Slang has always been and will always be a safe place for everyone. It was built to be welcoming. It was built to be soft. If we are going to continue to exist, we have to exist in this way. There have been allegations involving sexual assault and our guitarist, Ruben. Although this occurred four years ago and prior to him joining Beach Slang, we cannot in good conscience continue with him. We believe survivors and we want to believe Ruben, but until we learn more information, we don’t feel it’s appropriate for him to be a part of Beach Slang. We strongly support survivors and organizations such as www.rainn.org and we encourage you to use their resources if you need help. We will be making a donation to RAINN at the conclusion of this tour to do our part in helping to ensure these resources are there for those who need it. Given the timing of this, our only option is to play as Quiet Slang (James solo acoustic). I mean, giving up never seems to fix things. Maybe today, we can start putting some stuff back together. The Bleached Slang tour starts tonight in Washington, DC. Maybe that’s a good place to start. Keep each other safe, Beach Slang
Meanwhile, Gallego has released a few statements of his own, with the first coming from Punk News. In that statement, Gallego explains that ignoring these accusations “would be contributing to the further isolation of survivors and as a whole contributing to rape culture.” He says that he and his accuser have “contradicting ideas about what happened,” but for him to defend himself would only “serve to discredit” the person. He goes on to say that he’s “grateful for everything” that he got to experience through Beach Slang, and he’s “hopeful” that he can “find some resolution.” That full statement is below:
Hey everyone I was writing to say that because of an accusation of sexual assault that was leveled against me we all agreed that it would be best for me to take a step away from Beach Slang. This band has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and obviously I’m floored to have to walk away from it. James, Ed and Charlie are some of the best friends I’ve ever had.
When this call out first came out we sifted through our options and contemplated the possibility of addressing this and continuing forward but more and more we found ourselves asking what kind of repercussions this would have and concluded that letting this fade away would be contributing to the further isolation of survivors and as a whole contributing to rape culture. Something we all vehemently stand against. As difficult as it will be for me nothing is more important to me than making sure that people feel safe around me and in general, at shows, in everyday life.
All of this said there are always two sides in a situation like this and with respect to this person I want to make it clear that I’ve thought a lot about that night and we both seem to have contradicting ideas about what happened. Its difficult for me to defend myself because any defense I make is only going to serve to discredit this person and I don’t want to cause them any harm. To me it seems that for her to make this call out means that she is clearly working through some of her own issues and I hope that whatever they may be that she finds peace, clarity and resolve. I’ve made myself available to her if she decides she wants to reach out to me directly or through an intermediary and we can try and find some kind of resolution.
I want to thank every single person who I’ve met through all of this. This band has allowed me to be in the same room with some of my greatest personal hero’s and generally some of the sweetest people Ive ever been lucky enough to meet. No matter how bleak my life feels right now I’m grateful for everything and I’m hopeful that I too can find some resolution. Im starting therapy today and hopefully this will help me to work on myself as a person and trying to move forward in a positive way.
Gallego reiterated these points in a statement to Pitchfork, saying that it’s important to him “that people stand with survivors” and that people “continue to foster an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak out against their abusers.” Here’s the Pitchfork statement:
I’d like to say that what’s important to me is that people stand with survivors and that we continue to foster an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak out against their abusers.
Although I do feel like what’s being said about me is inaccurate it’s irrelevant. I think it’s totally possible for people to see a situation completely differently and if this person feels I harmed them then that’s what I care about and I want to make that right.
I also care deeply about how this affects other victims of sexual assault specifically the ones who attend Beach Slang shows and felt that sticking around would further isolate them.
James and Ed are the sweetest most caring people I’ve ever known and I feel they did the right thing and I will always support them.