Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine announced the decision in a statement on social media yesterday (May 24), two weeks after the band first acknowledged the allegations against Ellefson.
Despite Ellefson’s departure, the statement promises fans can still expect to hear new Megadeth music, which the band have long teased and which Mustaine says is “almost complete”, and tour with Lamb Of God over the summer.
“We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward,” Mustaine wrote.
“We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete.”
Earlier this month, several explicit screenshots and videos leaked of Ellefson purportedly having “some private and personal conversations” with a woman who was alleged by some to be underage. The bassist denied the allegations that he was grooming an underage girl.
“While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible,” he wrote in a social media post on his Instagram account, which has since been made private.
“As much as it’s not something I’m proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family.”
The woman allegedly involved also released a statement, which Ellefson shared, saying that she was never underage when the conversations took place.
“Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate them and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that. It was all consensual, I’m not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it,” she said.
“In the end, it was all consensual and all online. I don’t know how it got to this point, but a lot of information is being left out by the people purposely trying to harm him. I would ask that anyone sharing these personal private videos or any misinformation about them to please stop.”
In their earlier statement, Megadeth said they were “aware of the recent statements regarding David Ellefson, and are watching developments closely”.
“As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another,” the statement read. “However, there are clearly aspects of David’s private life that he has kept to himself.”
“As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light.”
Ellefson joined Megadeth in 1983. Following the band’s hiatus between 2002 and 2004, Ellefson did not immediately return. Instead, he sued Mustaine over merchandise and publishing royalties. The case was dismissed in 2005, and Ellefson eventually returned to the band in 2010.