All Time Low Launch Libel Lawsuit Against Accusers
In what was described as a "bold move" for the band, All Time Low on Thursday (Feb. 3) filed a libel lawsuit against at least three accusers who claimed on social media that members of the group sexually harassed or assaulted teen fans, according to Rolling Stone.
The accusations surfaced in October 2021 after a TikTok user said a famous pop-punk band invited her onto a tour bus when she was 13 years old, offered her beer and requested her bra. The woman didn't name the group, but her hints led many to believe it was All Time Low. On Twitter and TikTok weeks later, a second woman accused All Time Low guitarist Jack Barakat of sexually abusing her in 2011 when she was 15 and he was 22. A third accuser used Twitter to claim to have tallied 97 allegations against the band.
On Oct. 25, all four members of All Time Low responded in a statement that the accusations on TikTok and Twitter were "absolutely and unequivocally false." They said they would seek "legal recourse as we take these allegations very seriously." They added, "We stand with victims and always wish to amplify the voices and stories of those who have suffered abuse."
That recourse came this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court when All Time Low's lawyers filed the suit that can be read in its entirety near the bottom of this page. The complaint says the group doesn't know who the accusers are and that their anonymity has left them "no choice but to mobilize and utilize the civil court system to identify the culprits, prove that the defamatory statements are false and seek justice."
In fact, the lawsuit aims to "utilize discovery including subpoenas to uncover the identities of those that defamed them." The nine-page filing also includes refutations of each of the above accusers' claims.
The complaint says the first accuser's story was disproven by a fellow concertgoer, and it maintains that the accuser subsequently admitted she said the statements "to be petty" and made the video detailing the allegations private. It claims the second accuser's account was an "elaborate and completely fabricated story." It says the third's claims were "egregiously" false and made "without any evidence whatsoever." Exhibits including screenshots of the accusations are included.
Rolling Stone suggested such a suit could backfire. The magazine quoted an unattached lawyer, David M. Ring, as saying All Time Low were "opening themselves up to discovery that would include all of the allegations that were made online. By bringing a lawsuit, it appears they're entering willingly, knowing there's going to be investigations into their background."
But All Time Low are intent on clearing their name. "Not only have the reputations of the band and its members been unfairly tarnished," the suit states, "but the band has also lost business opportunities and suffered cancellation of scheduled events."
"All Time Low has worked hard for two decades to earn its large fan base and would prefer to continue to focus on its music rather than litigate," it continues. "However, these false and salacious accusations have harmed the band, its members and their families."
The suit adds, "Regrettably, this is the only course remaining to properly restore their reputations and repair the damage to [their] business. [The band] will then donate any proceeds derived from this litigation to charities that support victims of sexual abuse."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. Please visit RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) online or call them now at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).