UPDATED: Garrett Borns, known as indie rock artist BØRNS, is denying allegations of sexual misconduct, manipulation and harassment made by multiple young female fans. In tweets beginning Sept. 21, the women described meeting Borns at concerts — some when they were teenagers — which led to years-long conversations via Instagram and Snapchat messages that, according to the women, turned into unwanted sexual encounters.
“I am both hurt and angered over the disturbing and false allegations that have been spread over the past few days on social media,” Borns wrote in a statement posted to Instagram. “All of the relationships I had were legal and consensual. They ended abruptly and that obviously caused hurt feelings, but for anyone to suggest anything beyond that is irresponsible.”
BØRNS was dropped from the All Things Go Fall Classic music festival in D.C. on Friday following the allegations.
“BØRNS will no longer be performing at the 2018 All Things Go Fall Classic,” organizers said. “We hope, in all years and especially this one, that the Fall Classic continues to be part of making the music world a better, more equal place.”
“BØRNS has been a manipulator, horrible ‘friend’ and user,” wrote Twitter user @kaliforxnia (Nia) in a viral tweet posted Sept. 21. Since then, another young woman, Twitter user @alyssaadaniele (Lyss), has also come forward with allegations.
I didn’t get the courage to share this to hurt anyone. Please understand where I’m coming from. Please be safe and always trust your gut. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/R09Yqr0L2Z
— nia ♥ BLACK LIVES MATTER (@_n_ia) September 21, 2018
I wanted to shed some light on some things I’ve been holding onto for quite some time. thank you to the brave girls before me. you are not alone, you are never alone. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/YuJ3IAyqgQ
— lyss (@alyssaadaniele) September 23, 2018
“He ignored my messages because I said no to going to his hotel room,” wrote Nia, who was 19 at the time. The next time he asked her to hang out, she says, he coerced her into his room by telling her the address was to a bar, not his hotel.
Both women described his behavior as “aggressive” and said that their encounters led to physical pain. Both women also reported feeling “manipulated” and feared losing what they perceived as a friendship with a musician they admired.
“I idolized him,” Lyss wrote in a statement tweeted on Sept. 23. “He made me feel so special.”
Lyss, who was 16 when the relationship started two years ago — Garrett Borns is now 26 — described the singer’s overly sexual demands.
“He would ask me to send specific pictures and videos of myself, and I did. He asked me to so I did, and if I didn’t he would beg, or ghost me if I refused. I was 17….I tried to normalize things so many times, but it always led back into the sick lustful conversations that he used me for.”
“My idea of sex was turned into something that it shouldn’t have been because of him. I began to lose respect for myself,” wrote Lyss, though she clarifies that relations were consensual and that she was of age.
I just wanted to clarify that I did not accuse him of r*pe, the sex was consensual, and happened when I was of age.
— lyss (@alyssaadaniele) September 24, 2018
Nia responded to Borns’ statement via Twitter on Tuesday. “If you knew it hurt me & others, where is the apology?” she wrote.
Your statement is contradicting. How can you say they’re false allegations & then add that all of the relationships you had were legal & consensual? (When we never said it was illegal). 3 years doesn’t end anything abruptly. If you knew it hurt me & others, where is the apology? https://t.co/uLbKVukRIG
— nia ♥ BLACK LIVES MATTER (@_n_ia) September 25, 2018
Lyss shared a similar response. “This hurts more than anything you’ve ever done. you couldn’t even say sorry,” she tweeted Tuesday.
this hurts more than anything you’ve ever done. you couldn’t even say sorry. https://t.co/H4doKiONE5
— lyss (@alyssaadaniele) September 25, 2018