The aftermath of sexual assault allegations made against Ben Hopkins, one half of the queercore indie duo PWR BTTM, was swift and severe, with the band being dropped from streaming services as well as its label and management within days of when the complaints first surfaced on social media. Today, the band’s first album, Ugly Cherries, is back on digital platforms with a little help from Lisa Barbaris, a former executive at labels like Elektra, Asylum, and Nonesuch and a current music manager.
The band has enlisted Barbaris, as well as attorney Jeffrey Koenig, to try to get the rights to their second record, Pageant, back from Polyvinyl Records, which pulled the record soon after its release last month. Speaking to Billboard, Barbaris says, “To see Polyvinyl derail and potentially destroy the band’s career in such an impulsive manner is very troubling. I’ve never seen a label respond in such an irresponsible way in the 30-plus years I’ve been in the music business.”
In a statement released to press, the band’s representatives say, “as of now, Polyvinyl has not presented any viable plan to the band to make the music on Pageant available to their fans.” The label counters that it’s currently in touch with PWR BTTM‘s management, and has no problem with them re-releasing the album through other channels once the terms of a split have been reached. PWR BTTM has contested the allegations made against them, with Hopkins saying that, “the statements made about me by the anonymous source did not line up with any sexual experience I have ever had.“