Back in April, the band were supporting Kasabian at The O2 Forum in Kentish town – before someone took to Twitter to allege that singer Lee Broadbent ‘sexually assaulted’ a young female fan who was on the front row with her father.
The band denied the claims and said that they were “shocked and deeply troubled by these fabrications”, and have now elaborated on what really happened in an interview with Louder Than War. They’ve revealed that the Twitter user who shared the accusations was not at the show in question, and much of what was alleged was hearsay, exaggerated or fictitious. They also say that after the Twitter storm, the father was contacted by the venue when he confirmed that no assault had taken place “of any kind”.
“Social media showed its true colours,” said Broadbent. “We’d been given the Kasabian tour support and we’d come up with this set for the tour with Kevin as the set-closer for quite a while. Every night I’d come down to the barrier, which I’d do at our own gigs, but looking back at it, that’s where I made the mistake. Throughout the tour, we got some good receptions, but mainly I don’t think people got us, or didn’t like us as it’s a very different audience.”
He continued: “My mistake, looking back, is that the barrier was the wrong place for me to be because the crowd didn’t appreciate it. The Tuesday night, I followed suit, got down to the barrier and there was a fella there who clearly looked annoyed. The next night I did the same and he was there again and he pulled on my shirt. As I was singing there was a group of lads who threw a load of obscenities at me so I gave it them back and got back on stage and then we walked off at the end of the song.
“The bouncers then said there’s a guy out there who’s very angry about you going down there and they were going to escort him out for pulling on your shirt, but he wants to make a complaint. So we thought the best thing to do was to go out and talk to him rather than him make that complaint or us have him kicked out. So I went out, he was pretty annoyed, he said I’d gone down on the barrier on the Tuesday, got in everyone’s face and touched his daughter’s hair. And then on the Wednesday I came down to the barrier again. I apologised and said that I was trying to go down there to engage with the crowd and that I was sorry that I offended you. He said he didn’t think I should be doing it at an all ages gig and I took that on board and fair enough, with that sort of crowd I shouldn’t. I apologised again and we shook hands and thought that was it, complaint over.”
Broadbent says that the band then woke up to “a twitter storm”, and that there was a “red flag” as to why the user that shared the accusations “was claiming to have seen Tuesday’s events at Wednesday’s show.”
Speaking about the impact and furore of social media, Broadbent said that the worst part of the damage was when the accusations reached his mother. “She’s still not over it, there was a time when we didn’t talk for a month afterwards because it completely ruined her life for a while,” he said. “This is where we’re talking about humanity. It’s bizarre to say the least.
“There’s a Mark Twain phrase that said ‘a lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is still putting its shoes on’ that rings true today.”
Co-frontman Joe Martin added: “Six months ago people were calling us social heroes for attacking The Sun, and six months later it’s them and their cronies attacking us. And they’ll move on to the next person they want to try and ruin when they’re done with us. It feels like at the moment people are guilty until proven innocent.”
For help, advice and information on beating sexual assault at gigs, visit Safe Gigs For Women.
Cabbage’s new EP ‘The Extended Play Of Cruelty’ is available digitally now, but will be released on 10″ vinyl and CD on August 25.