A RISING young Melbourne band has pulled out of the Splendour In the Grass festival after sexual assault claims were posted on social media.
The folk punk band The Football Club have suspended all touring and other activities as they deny claims against frontwoman Ruby Markwell, which were circulated on social media over the weekend.
The quartet won a Triple J Unearthed competition to perform at Splendour.
The ABC youth broadcaster’s social media channels were lobbied by protesters to drop them from the bill after announcing they won the Unearthed competition last week.
Unearthed confirmed the band’s decision to withdraw as their guitarist Leah Romero announced she had quit.
“In light of the recent allegations I have decided to no longer continue with The Football Club,” Romero posted on Facebook.
“These allegations are incredibly serious and though have been vehemently denied, I will still be departing from the band.
“I believe that Ruby and everyone involved need to focus on resolving this situation through the appropriate channels, and that the band comes completely secondary to this.
“I will be donating 100% of my part of royalties and earnings from the band to The Royal Womens Hospital Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA House), who give support to victims of sexual assault.”
Markwell, who is transgender, announced the band had been put on hold via the band’s Facebook page before midday on Monday.
“Hi, it’s Ruby here. In light of recent events, for the time being, all future Football Club plans are put on hold,” she wrote.
“We won’t be performing at Splendour In the Grass. We were absolutely thrilled to be invited and would like to thank Splendour, and Triple J Unearthed for the opportunity.
“I strongly deny these allegations, and will be dealing with them through the appropriate channels.”
Triple J Unearthed’s Facebook page had many people protesting that the website had ignored messages posted “months ago” alerting them to the unsubstantiated allegations of physical and emotional abuse.
The site hosts unsigned bands, with dozens of their discoveries then gaining wider exposure via the Triple J network.
“This page has required moderation over the past few days to remove potentially defamatory posts, including criminal accusations. It has not been moderated with the intention of silencing commentary: this issue is incredibly complex, and we have heard and listened to the complaints made,” they posted in an official statement.
Before Markwell’s personal post on the band’s page, an official statement from The Football Club acknowledged the publishing of “untrue and defamatory statements.”
“These statements are without any foundation, designed to cause harm to the reputation of The Football Club and its members, and The Football Club absolutely deny them,” they stated.
“As a victim of sexual assault, Ruby and the band find these claims horrifying in nature, and completely untrue in content.
“The band has worked tirelessly to be a voice for the LGBTQI community and for victims of sexual assault, and feel that these statements are an unjustified and unfair attempt to undermine their positive work. We’re pursuing these matters through official channels currently.”
Both the Football Club and Unearthed urged victims of assault to seek support and advice through services listed on http://www.sass.org.au/directory/