Speaking in this week’s NME Big Read cover story, Flowers talked of his “relief” when an internal investigation conducted by their legal team found “no corroboration” of an assault which was alleged to have been committed against a woman backstage by their road crew at a show in Milwaukee on their US tour back in 2009, having spoken to the accuser, the alleged victim, the band, venue staff and other associates.
“I feel relieved that we were actually able to get to the bottom of it, actually find this woman and make sure that she was OK,” Flower told NME. “The most important thing is that there was no assault. That’s just nothing but relief. From what we see backstage, the people we hire and the people in the band, we’ve never witnessed anything like that happen. If something like that did happen, we would want to know.”
The allegations published last month in an online blog claimed that a woman was “passed out and drunk” in a dressing room and that a front of house engineer who was overheard radioing other crew to tell them to “put their name on a list” to be told when it was “their turn” with her. The band’s investigation found that the “problematic” front of house engineer who made “a series of sexist remarks and rude comments”, which “caused the female crew member on the audio team great distress”, was fired from the team back in 2013.
Speaking to NME about their crew, Flowers said that he “definitely doesn’t recognise this misogynistic culture or anything dangerous about them”, but explained more about the band’s “plan to take immediate action for future tours” by setting up an “an easy way to report a situation that is concerning to anyone on the road with them”.
“That could be the more positive thing that’s come from it – to actually put our heads together and figure out something we can do so that if anyone ever does feel uncomfortable, female or male, there’s a number they can call so they don’t have to let it fester and carry it with them for so long like this woman on the crew did,” said Flowers. “Whether it was true or not, she carried it with her. That can just be a horrible thing to carry around.
Flowers, who has been vocal about supporting his wife Tana through her battles with Complex PTSD and depression since he sung about it on previous album ‘Wonderful Wonderful‘, also addressed the band’s name being associated with a culture of misogyny in rock as a result of the accusatory blog.
“It sucks because as soon as you are brought into that conversation, some people are just going to believe that is you and paint you with that brush forever,” he told NME. “If I could sit down with everybody or let them be a fly on the wall – let them see what your life is like and how you behave and show them that that’s not you… There’s not much we can do about that. I guess I could do that – try and track down all the naysayers and let them follow me around? I don’t know what you do.”
He continued: “I have four sisters, I have nieces, I have female cousins, I have a mom, I have a wife. I know about what bad men can do to women. I would never turn a blind eye to that. My heart goes out to anyone who’s a victim.”
Read the full Big Read cover feature here, where the band also open about finding themselves again and adding a female voice to their new album ‘Imploding The Mirage‘, the current line-up, racism in the US, and how they’re already at work on another new album.