"As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues."
The family of Echosmith’s Graham Sierota have issued a statement in response to the drummer sending DMs to Travis Barker’s 13-year-old daughter.
The statement comes after messages Sierota, 20, sent to Alabama Barker were screenshotted and posted to social media by the 13-year-old and her older brother Landon, and later re-posted by The Blast.
Beginning in 2016, Sierota’s first message saw him post “Hi,” to no response. In July 2019, however, Sierota told her she was “beautiful” and invited her to a barbecue. When Alabama told Sierota “Ur like 40,” he responded: “I just wanted to say I really like your music and sorry for messaging and I’m 20.” She then responded: “OK, but u understand I’m a child?” which is the last of the screenshots shared.
Apologising to Alabama and her father, Blink-182‘s Travis Barker, Sierota said: “I’m really sorry and feel very badly about this. I didn’t realise she was a minor and assumed she was my age. I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologise again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family.”
Echosmith (comprised of siblings Jamie, Sydney Sierota, Noah, as well as Graham Sierota) and the drummer’s parents have now issued a statement in response to the actions of their brother, writing that “as a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues.”
“We have never publicly addressed this in the past, but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterisations of Graham,” the statement began. “As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues.
“Graham’s challenges have always been a non-issue in our family. In fact, it is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is. His outlook on life inspires us every day. He’ll be the first one to say “today is gonna be the best day ever,” or, “you’re my best friend and you look amazing today.” He sees the world as the happiest place, where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included.”
The statement continued: “One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us “Graham reached out on social media and invited us!” Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world.
“We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Adding that as a family, they would continue to work with Sierota to arm him with the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilise social media while he takes a break from it, the statement ended by saying: “We hope anyone who’s been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies.
“~ Sydney, Noah, Graham, Linda and Jeffery.”