After previously releasing a statement that took a wholly defensive stance in response to sexual misconduct allegations being made against him, Ken Stringfellow, the co-founder of the rock band the Posies, has followed up with a new statement that includes a general apology and a promise to seek therapy, while still making a blanket denial of the specific charges.
The new statement, sent by Stringfellow to Variety and also posted on his Twitter account, doesn’t acknowledge any specific wrongs but strikes a more repentant tone than the previous one. The allegations of sexual misconduct and, in one case, assault by three women were first published in a lengthy article on Seattle NPR station KUOW’s website Monday.
“Having consensual sexual relationships with multiple people is both messy and complicated,” Stringfellow wrote Wednesday. “While I deny these specific allegations, it’s clear I am responsible for creating conditions that could lead people to be upset with me and indeed emotionally hurt by me.”
He continues, “First and foremost, I am a nonviolent person, and I would never intentionally harm someone. Still, I am taking personal responsibility for the harm my behavior caused these women. It was never my intention, nor was I aware of it at the time. I sincerely apologize for the impact I have had, and I am truly sorry for the pain I have caused these and other women as well as my family, friends, bandmates, fans and community.”
In his conclusion, Stringfellow says, “Going forward, I am taking time off to carefully examine and reflect on the impact I have had on other people. I think it’s appropriate and necessary that I take a break from public life to fully examine these issues and, ideally, repair them via therapy. I am committed to recalibrating my life with compassionate and respectful values for all people.”
In the stories told by the three women on the record in the KUOW story Monday, two of the women describe dispiriting experiences that they acknowledge were consensual, if reluctant and ultimately damaging, while the third characterizes forcible and violent sex in a men’s room stall that she says was nonconsensual. The article also describes Stringfellow as well-known on the Seattle music scene for his sexual exploits, indicating that it was a source of joking for some around the band and concern among others.
The article included Stringfellow’s original statements that he and his wife have an open relationship, suggesting that his sexual partners’ misunderstanding of his non-monogamous practices was at the root of the women’s unhappiness, and “categorically” denying all the charges being made against him.
Both of the other two members of the Posies quit the band after hearing the women’s stories prior to the article being published, including co-founder Jon Auer, who began performing alongside Stringfellow in 1986, and the group’s most recent drummer, Frankie Siragusa.
“I left the Posies very quickly,” Auer told KUOW in an email, “after hearing from [a friend quoted in the story] about what happened to her,” in conversations that lasted for nine hours. “What she described to me was super disturbing,” Auer continued, “and it made my position immediately clear. I confronted Ken about it on a phone call on Aug, 4, 2021, and canceled our upcoming shows, and flat-out told him that I wouldn’t be working with him anymore.” Auer added that a nearly finished album the Posies had recorded — which would have been their first since 2016 — was being shelved.
Stringfellow did not respond to a request for comment on the breakup of the band or its circumstances.
Rather than die down, controversy has continued to simmer among fans — or former fans — and friends in the two days since the article appeared. In a fan forum on Facebook dedicated to the Posies, as well as in discussions on other social media, many said they believed the women and wrote that they were taking down their posters and putting away their Posies or Stringfellow solo music for good. But there were some who said they would withhold judgment until more was known. A dramatic debate broke out on the Facebook page of an ex-manager and former girlfriend of Stringfellow’s who said she loathed the musician but still thought the charges of violence didn’t ring true. She said a quote of hers was misattributed in the KUOW story, but one of the reporters replied in the thread they had gone back to their tapes and verified the material.