More Accounts of Ryan Adams' Alleged Pattern of Abuse and Harassment Emerge

The artist’s former collaborators speak out after a bombshell New York Times investigation.

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Feb 19 2019, 8:30pm

The fallout from the New York Times investigation into Ryan Adams, which detailed allegations from several women portraying a pattern of abuse, harassment, and intimidation, has continued. Since the expose published last week, Adams’ forthcoming 17th album Big Colors was put “on hold” from its April release by his label Pax Am and the FBI opened an investigation into Adams’ conduct, which includes a claim of sexual misconduct with a minor as young as 14.

Over the weekend, several artists, victims, and former collaborators have come forward detailing their own experiences with Adams. Songwriter Karen Elson, who once toured with Adams, wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post, “I also had a traumatizing experience with Ryan Adams. I’m not quite brave enough yet to speak about my specifics.” She continued, “The trauma that lingers is often a very powerful silencer of women as is the business that enables these men to thrive without ever facing consequences.”

Other artists like Jenny Lewis, who worked with Adams on her 2014 album The Voyager, said on Twitter, “I am deeply troubled by Ryan Adams’ alleged behavior. Although he and I had a working professional relationship, I stand in solidarity with the women who have come forward.” Liz Phair, who had collaborated with Adams on an unreleased double album, tweeted, “My experience was nowhere near as personally involving, but yes the record ended and the similarities are upsetting.”

Phoebe Bridgers, one of the women who accused Adams of abuse of power in the New York Times investigation, released a new statement on social media Saturday. She wrote, “Ryan had a network too. Friends, bands, people he worked with. None of them held him accountable. They told him, by what they said or by what they didn’t, that what he was doing was okay. They validated him.” She added, “He couldn’t have done this without them.”

Adams’ touring guitarist Todd Wisenbaker, who performs in La Sera, also stepped forward condemning the allegations as “sickening and embarrassing,” writing, “There were times when I chose to believe his insane version of the truth because it was easier than believing that anyone is capable of being this much of a monster.” He added, “I've recently learned that pretty much everything he's ever told me is a lie upon a lie upon a lie.” Wisenbaker’s wife, La Sera and Vivian Girls’ Katy Goodman, offered her own statement: “Believe the women who have told their stories about Ryan Adams.”

Perhaps the most revealing account comes from another of Adams’ many accusers in the New York Times story, his ex-wife, Mandy Moore. On Monday, she appeared on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast and revealed the “unhealthy” dynamics of their relationship: “I felt like I was drowning. It was so untenable and unsustainable. I was so lonely and so sad. I was lonely with him.” Moore, who had married Adams in 2009, filed for divorce in 2015, also said, “I couldn’t do my job because there was this constant stream of trying to pay attention to this person who needed me.” Six months after her divorce was finalized, she secured a starring role in NBC’s This Is Us. In the interview, Moore confirmed she’d be returning to music and that her new songs will be, “very personal. I mean, I feel like I've lived a life in the last 10 years. I have got plenty to say.”

In addition to the canned album release and the open FBI investigation, music gear companies Benson Amps and JHS Pedals ended their professional relationships with Adams. Prior to the expose, Adams had planned to release three albums in 2019 beginning with Big Colors.