The band found fame in the ’90s, with hit singles top 20 singles including ‘Slight Return’, ‘Cut Some Rug’ and ‘Marblehead Johnson’. They released their sixth and final album ‘A New Athens’ in 2010 and then split in 2011, before reforming in 2015 and continuing to tour. Morris also works as a solo artist, and has appeared as the vocalist for Billy Reeves’ The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost project and in the live band of Matt Berry, The Maypoles.
Now in a new and lengthy post, titled ‘If I’m Lying, Come Sue Me’, newspaper executive Anna Wharton accuses Morriss of being a “pathological liar and serial predator,” detailing years of alleged gaslighting, abuse and cheating.
When approached by NME about the claims, Morriss said: “I completely refute all the allegations of abuse which have been raised in this article,” and did not wish to comment.
However when speaking to The Guardian, he said: “I may have been thoughtless and selfish in some of the dealings in my personal life of late, but these allegations of abuse and gaslighting are wholly untrue, and I refute them completely.”
The frontman went on to say that his personal life had “certainly gotten into a hell of a tangle, people have undoubtedly been hurt because of me” and that “in many ways, all this coming to light is a great relief,” adding: “I am sincerely sorry for everything to anyone caught up here.”
Wharton’s post began: “I have often talked on here, or on Twitter of my abusive ex-husband, though I have never named him. I am aware, it is not difficult to put us together though. But I have a particularly important reason for naming him now: to protect other women.”
She continued: “For too long, he has relied on telling people that I am crazy, and lying about me. He has been gaslighting women to believe what he wanted them to, convincing them not to put the dots together and realise what a narcissistic, pathological liar and serial predator he is.”
In the blog post, Wharton alleges that, after the pair met and fell in love in 2011, they “decided to try for a baby fairly quickly,” only for Morriss to tell her to have an abortion when she became pregnant. She also alleges that Morriss “made up terrible things about me, telling his mum that I tricked him into pregnancy, telling others I was bipolar, that I was a liar so I would never be believed.”
“It was always fans,” she added. “Women he met at gigs. He told them we had broken up. He told them this whole ‘she tricked me’ line to get sympathy. Or himpathy, a new word I learnt the other day. Six weeks after we got married he was in bed with another fan.”
One fan then appears later in the blog post, writing to Wharton: “I was involved with your ex, only for a few weeks, a number of years ago. I remember him telling me that he had a baby daughter with his ex so that might help work out chronology. Embarrassingly, I was one of these women who got chatting to him at one of his gigs and was a bit flattered by the attention since I was a ‘fan’.
“I feel quite ashamed about that now. Whilst thankfully I never saw any physically threatening behaviour from him, I definitely did feel like his behaviour was odd and a bit manipulative at times and it did leave me feeling pretty shit about myself and left me with just a little bit more evidence that I end up being attracted to men who aren’t very respectful to me.”
Wharton also claimed that Morriss was abusive to her “on more than one occasion,” writing: “He was finally cautioned by police for throttling me, only because I took a photo of the eight fingerprints around my neck – what a thing you should have to think of straight after an act of violence like that, but otherwise I would never have been believed.”
The blog post also features anecdotes from a number of women who had relationships with Morriss, many of whom said they later found out that they were at the same time as others. One anonymous woman said she felt like “just one of a long line” of women involved with the singer, with Wharton saying that Morriss was often living a “double life” and hiding other relationships from women he was involved with at any given time.
In a tweet posted alongside the article, Wharton is pictured with two other women she speaks of in the piece, who were involved with Morriss at the same time and had connected over their experiences with him.
“It’s easy to burn one witch…” she wrote, adding: “Britpop, can you feel your #metoo moment heating up?”
She added in the blog post: “These women will be fine eventually. They are strong, intelligent, beautiful, and they will move on once their hearts have healed and hopefully they will trust again. Because this guy is a one off, a malignant narcissist, I know most other men are not predators like him. He works in an industry that is complicit in the abuse of women, his band members, the fans – especially the female fans – they know what Mark is like. Those who haven’t questioned his narrative have enabled him in his abuse of women.
“Where is the sisterhood? All of those women, and men, should hang their heads in shame. Look at what they turn their faces from just to be friends with someone in a band? They don’t care about our pain, or the pain of our children, as long as they get free gig tickets. It is pathetic. They are pathetic. Though not as pathetic as him. As these women have comforted themselves, they will move on, but Mark will always be Mark.”
It’s easy to burn one witch… 🔥
— anna wharton (@whartonswords) November 16, 2021
In response to the post, Catherine Anne Davies – who performs as The Anchoress and has collaborated with Morriss’ side-project The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost – distanced herself from the band, writing on Facebook: “Following the revelations about Mark Morriss that have been published today, I will be having no further involvement with the collaborative project The Helicopter of The Holy Ghost going forwards. Solidarity with all the women coming forwards. Believe women.”
She added: “To clarify: I don’t really know anything about him or the band. I’ve never met him but I certainly don’t want to be involved in anything that perpetuates the power and status that has allowed these things to happen.”
Morriss’ bandmate in The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost, Billy Reeves, has also addressed the allegations.
Taking to Facebook, he wrote: “I’ve been made aware, this morning of the blog post by Mark’s ex-partner about his behaviour.
“This is obviously very serious. The future, if there is one, of The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost shows will be made clear in due course.”