The headline says it all: back in January a number of allegations surfaced regarding Jake Mcelfresh and his tendency to send nude pictures to underage girls he met at shows and engage in graphic sexual conversations with them. Amazingly, no one did anything about this. Jake said nothing, his label said nothing, and Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour who had recently booked Jake to play, said he was on vacation and would deal with it later.
That never happened. Mcelfresh said he was cancelling “current tour activities” without mentioning Warped Tour by name. Lyman continued to dodge the question while thousands of fans signed a petition asking for Mcelfresh to be removed from the tour.
You know what else didn’t happen? Mcelfresh never denied a single one of the accusations against him—probably because all of them had screenshots and phone records backing them up. In fact, in a rambling excusefest that in no way resembles an apology, Mcelfresh admitted to the entire thing:
“Over the course of time I found myself involved in text based relationships with a handful of women.”
“To be honest, this whole thing is so confusing because never once was there physical interaction, only online correspondence between consenting individuals.”
“Am I responsible for my part of the conversations – yes, and for that I have learned a terrible lesson.”
“I have never had any romantic and/or sexual physical interaction with an underage person nor do I have the desire. Any woman that I had online interaction with was consenting and part of the conversations, they sought me out and I answered.”
“Sexual or otherwise, I only had text interactions with willing participants.”
You’ll notice he avoids any mention of the age of the girls he was “involved in text based relationships with” and denies having any physical interactions—something he hasn’t been accused of. Mcelfresh is adamant that his interactions were consensual, but he fails to mention that minors cannot legally give consent. His statement indicates that 1) he was fully aware of what he was doing, namely, engaging in graphic sexual conversations and sending nude photos to underage girls; and 2) he thinks it was completely okay for him to do this because the girls went along with it. Never mind the the fact that these were fans of his, girls who looked up to him and over whom he had a considerable amount of power and influence.
Yet none of this mattered, because Kevin Lyman, for whatever reason, allowed Mcelfresh to play at Warped Tour as planned. And guess what? Mcelfresh is being a self-righteous dick about it, because, of course, he is the real victim here.
An excellent post by Kelly Doherty sums up the frustrations of the fans who are horrified that Mcelfresh is not only still free but actively being placed in situations where he can continue to meet and exploit underage girls. If you agree, there’s plenty that can be done:
- sign the petition
- tell Kevin Lyman and Warped Tour how you feel about this
- consider bringing this to the attention of Warped Tour sponsors, especially Vans, Fuse, Instagram, and To Write Love On Her Arms (an organization dedicated to helping people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide—all of which can be caused by the kind of abuse that Jake Mcelfresh perpetrates)
All of the sponsors have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, which makes them very easy to reach. It takes just a few seconds to write a tweet or post on a page, and the cumulative effect of everyone doing this would put a lot of pressure on Lyman to remove Mcelfresh from the tour.