We all know what groupies are; the mob of infatuated, usually female followers, who follow bands in the hopes of sleeping with members. A regular fan, a fangirl and a groupie are not one in the same. With the whole sex, drugs, and rock n’roll attitude many rock stars live by, being famous comes with a whole lot of people wanting to sleep with you and a whole lot of infatuated youngsters. I always saw groupies as a subset of fanbases I wanted to steer clear of; however, I never saw it as a problem, until now. It made me uncomfortable to think about, but hey if it’s all consensual then I guess it’s all good?
It’s one thing for adults to sleep with whoever they want, and if they want to hook up with celebrities if the opportunity arises, then at the end of the day, it’s their business alone. What’s not okay is when band members and celebrities take advantage of young underage fans.
A large amount of young girls have come forward and accused band members of sexual misconduct, taking advantage of their youth, and emotional abuse. These young girls are not groupies. They were taken advantage of by grown men who should have known better. It is wrong for fans to accuse these girls or trying to break up their favourite bands for attention – they are victims of men who abused their power.
Recently drummer of the band Piece the Veil, Mike Fuentes, was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor that occurred 10 years ago. Twitter user @punkdoll tweeted screenshots of her friend’s encounters with the rock star a decade ago when she was 16 who decided to remain anonymous. She explains how her and Fuentes began talking on MySpace when she was 15 years old.
She then met him at a show shortly after she turned 16 and how “right after getting into the show, we were making out”. Fuentes is 8 years her elder. “I was young, and he had made me feel like I was special” she said. At this point, the musician was unaware of her age. However, he found out when a former friend of hers messaged the drummer telling him she was 16. Fuentes’ alleged response was “Haha, I don’t care babe. I just thought it was funny she’d try and message me about it”. She explained that she can’t speak for the rest of the band, but that she looks young and her age must have raised questions amoung his band mates. Their relationship became sexual in 2008 and her friend attached screenshots from a video chat of blackened out genitals, in which the tattoos appear to match those of the drummer to prove their allegations. She said this lasted until she was 18 and they stopped speaking in 2010.
It is important to note that the legal age of consent in California is 18, which is where both parties live, meaning this is viewed as statutory rape in the eyes of the law.
She concluded in saying “And here I have been, holding onto this abuse of power for nearly ten years. He knew he could control me with the sweet things he would say, and he knew I’d always come back because at 16, this is what I thought was love”.
Another disturbing allegation against a rock star came from a young Belgian women accusing the lead singer of Suicide Silence, Eddie Hermida of emotionally and sexually manipulating her as a minor.
Verena Ceilis (@thyartismxrder) began her statement on Twitter by saying that Suicide Silence has been her favourite band since she was 13. Following the death of the original frontman, Mitch Lucker in 2012, Hermida stepped in as the replacement. She explained how he followed her on Twitter and they spoke back and forth, but stopped after he received a letter she wrote explaining how much the band meant to her, and he messaged accusing her of being an attention seeker.
Later on there was a growing popularity of “poorly drawn x band” accounts on Twitter and she made one for Suicide Silence. She and Hermida began talking again but he told her he didn’t want anyone to know she was “privileged enough to have daily conversations with him”
“This should have been the first sign but I was blind, ecstatic about starting a friendship with my (then) hero”.
She explained how she met him after their concert and took her and her mother to the tour bus to talk. “We hung out and hugged and held hands and no big deal. He also asked when my birthday was, because he was aware I was still underage then. But after that day it began to go downhill. I sent him a picture of me wearing the t-shirt he got my mom for her birthday and that’s when he said ‘he’s not a pure soul and he wished I was older”, she said.
Later on he gave her his Snapchat and things turned sexual when he assumed she turned 18. Verena admits to being afraid to tell him she was still 17.
“He started flirting and sending suggestive pictures of himself. I was in shock. He toyed with me and manipulated me into sending him nudes, which I was totally against”, she said, “totally forgetting he was 32 at the time”, she continued. “After toying with me, he told me he has a girlfriend and they were in an open relationship. I was hurt of course because I thought he was genuinely interested in me. I had already developed feelings for him. He continued to send me nudes, even when I was at school, and I remember being with my grandparents in a restaurant and he sent me unsolicited nudes. I had to leave the table in embarrassment” she continued. She said he began acting cold as his girlfriend didn’t like her.
“I wish I had screenshots but I think he would have killed me. I could never save anything and that should have been my next warning”, she said.
“From that moment on he began treating me like shit and we fought every other day”. She tells how Harmida made her feel miserable and unworthy of love; this eventually drove her to attempt suicide in 2016. Prior to doing this she sent a message to his old Snapchat account she believed he no longer used telling him she loved him. “I never meant for him to read it but he did and then started playing the victim” she said. “I blamed myself for being a burden to him, but he was a burden to me. All I wanted is to make him happy and to be there for him but he misused my admiration for him”.
She concluded by saying she came out of this situation stronger than before. “Sure, he made me feel worthless and like I never meant anything to him, but I know he was just afraid for some reason…Please, if you are underage and a band member is hitting on you, speak up. You’re not alone. I promise”, she said. “To all of the girls who are speaking up: you’re so, so brave for getting through this and speaking up about the issues that are in this scene. Don’t blame yourself, you were underage and being emotionally and sexually manipulated. You didn’t know better than to go on your knees for your idol, as did I.”
Verena has since deleted her account due to harassment.
Other musicians accused of sexual misconduct and abuse are Jesse Lacey from Brand New, Rob Damiani of Don Broco, and Jayden Seeley and Luke Thomas of With Confidence. This follows a stream of men and women coming forward admitting instances of abuse and harrassment within the entertainment industry.