Content Warning: This article contains description of sexual misconduct
The Griswolds’ singer Chris Whitehall has responded to allegations of sexual misconduct against him in a statement on social media, confirming some accounts as true.
In Whitehall’s statement to Twitter Monday (September 7), he wrote, “It is with a heavy heart that I am confirming that the statements I have read are true and I am here to take full responsibility and ownership of my actions.” Whitehall did not specify which allegations he is referring to.
He continued, “There is zero excuse for my behaviour, the things I have done and the way I have acted is terrible and I’m not going to make any excuses. I want to confront this, I want to be held accountable and I deserve to be called out.
“To the women that have come out, I support your statements and I am so deeply sorry that I hurt you and disrespected you. I am sorry for the damage I have caused you. You did not deserve any of this.”
In the rest of the statement, Whitehall encouraged “women to keep sharing their stories”. “If there are more things that need to come out, if there are more things that need to be brought to my attention, then I want to confront it.”
Read the statement, which was also shared to the band’s social media pages, in full below.
— Chris Whitehall (@CMWhitehall) September 7, 2020
In a tweet on September 6, a woman named Kelly Blaus called Whitehall a “sexual predator” and alleged he groomed her from the age of 16 until just before she turned 18.
“I was still a child throughout the course of our relationship, vulnerable and terrified, far too young to consent to the things that happened with this much older man,” she wrote. “… Grooming is a technique predators use to gradually establish an emotional connection in order to manipulate their victims into submission.”
Whitehall claimed Blaus had sent sexual images and messages to her via Snapchat and text messages when he “absolutely knew that I was underage” (according to her social media, Blaus is presently 22 years old). In her tweet, she shared screenshots of messages purportedly exchanged between her and Whitehall on Snapchat, Twitter and a FaceTime call. See the account and screenshots below.
I have far more evidence than this, but I would prefer to keep it private for the time being due to its intimate nature. pic.twitter.com/ifIzHrML21
— Kelly (@kellyblaus) September 5, 2020
In one conversation on Snapchat shown by Blaus, Whitehall allegedly asks her, “You done being a child yet? Wanna actually talk like adults???”
Blaus said they first began chatting online when she was 16, after Whitehall had messaged her offering a guestlist spot for a concert The Griswolds were playing as a support act. She said they continued to talk on a variety of social media networks and FaceTime, and though “at first, it felt more like friendship”, “it progressed quickly” and “he’d become increasingly sexual”.
Blaus alleged that after she had told Whitehall that she was then 17, “he said we should probably take it slow and be careful for the time being”.
“He didn’t take it slow for very long, though. He quickly went back to sending me naked videos and photos on Snapchat. At this point, he absolutely knew that I was underage and he knew the potential legal ramifications of our relationship because we specifically and thoroughly discussed it,” Blaus wrote.
Blaus also claimed that Whitehall suggested they keep the sexual side of their relationship to Snapchat “in order to be cautious”. Their relationship “dissolved”, she said, after a planned night stay at Whitehall’s house in Los Angeles while Blaus was still 17 (Blaus ultimately never travelled to Los Angeles or stayed at his home due to “unrelated reasons”, she wrote).
“Chris sought me out because I was especially vulnerable,” she wrote in the last paragraph of her post. “I was naive, emotionally malleable, and he knew I looked up to him. He abused the power he held over me. I will not allow him to continue to use his platform to prey on those who don’t know any better. I will no longer keep his secrets.”
After Blaus released her account, another woman with the Twitter handle @Gabbracadabra made her Twitter account public to “stand in solidarity” with Blaus and share her own allegation of sexual misconduct she had previously made against Whitehall in July.
She also shared screenshots of sexually explicit messages that Whitehall allegedly sent her via Snapchat and text, including one nude image that had been censored.
In one of the messages shared by @Gabbracadabra, she says she is underage (“nearly 18”) to which Whitehall allegedly responds “Suuurious????? God I’m a paedophile”. See her post below.
i will probably stay on private for a while as this is extremely anxiety inducing, but i hope that you take the time to read. there are other artists i’ve had experiences with like this, but those are even more difficult to address. pic.twitter.com/uVPwJMDbc7
— gabagool (@Gabbracadabra) July 3, 2020
Whitehall did not respond to any of the specific claims made in either of those allegations, including those that Blaus and @Gabbracadabra were minors.
After he issued his statement, Blaus replied, singling out his use of the word “women”. She wrote, “These were not women. These were CHILDREN. I was a child.”
She continued, “Since posting my story yesterday, DOZENS of other victims have reached out to me. You stole our childhoods and we will never get that back. Don’t blame the industry or the drugs. You had sex with children.”
These were not women. These were CHILDREN. I was a child. Since posting my story yesterday, DOZENS of other victims have reached out to me. You stole our childhoods and we will never get that back. Don’t blame the industry or the drugs. You had sex with children.
— Kelly (@kellyblaus) September 7, 2020
The Griswolds formed in Sydney in 2012, releasing the EP ‘Heart Of A Lion’ and winning a triple j Unearthed contest to play Parklife Festival that year. Their last full-length release was the 2018 acoustic album ‘Year After Year’. In February, they released the EP ‘ALL MY FRIENDS’.