Rock band Megadeth is addressing a sex scandal surrounding its original bassist David Ellefson.
The band member has been accused of grooming an allegedly underage girl after graphic exchanges between the pair were leaked online. In a comment released Monday on Instagram, Megadeth said it was aware of the situation.
"We are aware of the recent statements regarding David Ellefson, and are watching developments closely," the band said. "As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another. However, there are clearly aspects of David's private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light."
Ellefson has denied the accusations against him, insisting the interactions between him and a female fan were "taken far out of context" and "manipulated."
"As you may or not know, some private and personal conversations and interactions have surfaced online, released with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them," Ellefson said in an Instagram post before switching his account to private, according to Ultimate Classic Rock.
"While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible. As much as it's not something I'm proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career, and family."
The statement also included a post that appeared to be from the woman he interacted with.
"I just wanted to tell my side of the story because people are sharing misinformation and the situation is getting out of hand without the truth being out there," she wrote. "Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate them and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult."
The woman stated "nothing inappropriate" had happened before their graphic exchange, adding it was consensual. She further explained she was "not a victim" and had not been groomed "in the slightest." Her mistake was recording communications between herself and Ellefson and sharing it with a friend without the rocker's permission, she explained, reiterating it was all consensual.
Ellefson joined Megadeth in 1983 and remained with the band until 2002, when he had a falling out with founder Dave Mustaine over royalties, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. He returned to the band in 2010.
Earlier this year, Ellefson praised Mustaine for his resilience in life during an interview with the Real Music With Gary Stuckey podcast.
"Dave's a fighter, and he's a survivor," he said, via Blabbermouth. "I mean, look – he's gone through being fired [from Metallica], kicked out, kicked down. He just went through cancer. The guy, he's a tireless warrior, and I think that's a big part of the Megadeth story. And that's worldwide; that's global.
"And then, behind that, of course, there's this brotherhood between me and him that, as much as Dave's the fighter — Dave's the fighting one, and I'm the friendly one. So there's a chemistry there that people like. They're, like, "O.K., as long as Ellefson's in the room, we feel safe.'"
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