The Posies indie cult band is breaking up after several women accused frontman Ken Stringfellow of sexual misconduct.
A woman accused the musician of forcing her to have sex in a man’s bathroom; another said she had been in an abusive relationship with him since 2017.
A third said Stringfellow bit her, leaving marks, and that she once woke up to find him having sex with her.
He categorically denied the claims, saying, “I don’t agree with the violence.”
“I would never want to hurt anyone I’m in a relationship with, sexual or not,” she said in a statement.
“Consent has been the foundation of every sexual relationship I’ve had, and violence has never been a part of any of those relationships. It’s just not who I am as a person who respects women.”
The allegations emerged in a Seattle radio station KUOW investigative report, released Monday.
Stringfellow’s longtime bandmate Jon Auer told the station that he “left the Posies very quickly” after hearing a woman’s account of sexual abuse.
“What he described to me was very disturbing and made my position immediately clear,” he said in an email.
“I talked to Ken about it in a phone call in August[ust] 4, 2021, and canceled our upcoming shows, and I told him I would no longer work with him. “
Drummer Frankie Siragusa, a member of Posies since 2015, left the band in the early summer and confirmed his departure was motivated by the allegations.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse and assault, the following resources may help you.
- BBC line of action: sexual abuse and violence
- BBC line of action: domestic abuse
The Posies formed in 1988 and their shrill, power-pop anthems found success on alternative radio and MTV in the 1990s. Songs like Golden Blunders and Dream All Day have become airplay hits in the United States, while Going, Going, Gone appeared on the million-selling soundtrack of Winona Ryder’s Gen X comedy Reality Bites.
Stringfellow toured and recorded extensively with REM while Posies were on hiatus in the early 2000s. The band reformed in 2005 and recently completed a new album, their first since 2016.
Auer said the record will now be shelved.
The three women who came forward with the allegations against Stringfellow met this summer, KUOW said, and decided to tell their stories in the hope “that others might recognize signs of abuse in their own relationships.”
The radio station said it interviewed 20 people and reviewed medical records, emails and texts to corroborate the women’s stories.
Among them was Kristine Chambers, a musician who had had an open relationship with Stringfellow in the 2010s.
She claimed the musician approached her at a party in 2015 and put his hand on her dress. She told him that she had recently had a medical procedure and that it was on the doctor’s orders to abstain from sex.
Undeterred, he dragged her into a bathroom, pushed her to the floor, pulled her panties down, and forcibly had sex with her, he claimed.
“He was biting me,” he told KUOW. “It was very painful.”
A second woman, Kristi Huok, also accused Stringfellow of biting her arm “all the way through” on her way home from a concert. The next morning, she woke up to find the musician having sex with her against her will, she said.
The third accuser, Holly Nixon, began a relationship with Stringfellow after they teamed up to make an album.
During the US tour in 2015, the relationship became “more dramatic, violent and destructive” and ended when he pushed her to have an abortion, she said.
“Consensual and respectful”
KUOW also spoke to several women, including Stringfellow’s ex-wife, Kim Warnick, who said he wasn’t offensive to them.
“He never laid a hand on me, but at the end of the day, he was horrible – the one I had to deal with because of all his infidelities,” said Warnick, bassist for Seattle-based punk band Fastbacks. “Never marry a man for his voice.”
Stringfellow responded to the allegations in a written statement, saying, “I’ve never been involved in anything strange, anything hard.
“I experienced extreme violence firsthand as a teenager. I’m sensitive to aggression and it’s not something I can be around. I’m not down with violence. I don’t want to hurt anyone, ever.”
In a joint statement with his current wife, Dominique, he added that the incident described by Kristine Chambers was consensual.
“Over the years, Ken has had consensual and respectful sex with other women, including the women they have accused,” the couple wrote.
“Our mutual commitment has enabled him to do so.”
- sexual violence
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