Jensen and the Flips, Ang Bandang Shirley apologize over sexual misconduct claims

November 23, 2017 - 8:37 AM
Jensen Gomez, frontman of Jensen and the Flips. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

At least two of several bands accused of sexual misconduct in a series of tweets that became viral Wednesday evening have issued statements of apology in response to the brewing controversy.

The numerous tweets apparently began after Adrienne Onday (@_tapsilog on Twitter), a sociology student from the University of the Philippines and co-creator of an independent publication called Ligaya Komiks, began her tweets by saying she wants to talk about “misogyny, sexism, and predatory/manipulative behavior in the local independent music scene” based on her experience.

She then proceeded with allegations against Jensen and the Flips frontman Jensen Gomez, who she said texted her suggestive emojis. She said she also heard other band members making inappropriate remarks against women.

“I found that continuing to actively and persistently support a scene which looks positive on the surface but actually has a disgusting underbelly felt hypocritical and unethical for me,” went part of one of her tweets.

Onday’s tweets triggered similar posts from other women who made specifics accusations against other indie musicians that also included members of Ang Bandang Shirley, Sud and MilesExperience. One of them specifically mentioned a certain Sammy of Jensen and the Flips whom she shared a cab with. The anonymous accuser posted that Sammy forced himself on her and tried to kiss her while she was trying to push him away.

Jensen and the Flips guitarist Sam Valenia admitted to the deed and tweeted an apology that read, “Yup. Ako to (this is me)…I am really sorry sa mga taong na-offend ko at na-disappoint sa akin because of this post and because of what I did. I respect yall’s opinions. I know this ain’t enough but again, I am really sorry.”

Valenia’s admission prompted the online magazine Vandals On The Wall, organizers of “The Rest Is Noise Year-End,” to remove Jensen and the Flips from the line-up of the annual multi-act concert.

“In light of several deeply disturbing allegations, one of which was confirmed by the accused band member, we’ve decided to withdraw our invitation to Jensen and the Flips to perform in our year-end show…We are reaffirming our position: we do not and will not condone, tolerate, or enable any vile or reprehensible behavior that exploits and abuses women. We stand by them and we hope that with this action, we can help get their voices heard and stop normalize this behavior,” went the group’s statement.

After more accusations against Jensen and the Flips came to light, the band issued a statement on its Facebook page where the they acknowledged wrongdoing and apologized “to those who are directly involved.”

“We are, at the same time, grateful to the people who shed light on the matter. An apology will never be enough to make up for all of the things that have been done in the past. We know the things we did wrong; rest assured we have, and will continue to work on being better individuals moving forward to ensure that such situations will not happen again…Trust was lost with productions, event organizers, partners, and supporters. We know that this is hard to rebuild, and respect their decisions regarding established commitments with Jensen and the Flips. We stand united not only as a band, but also as a family. We will continue to strive to be better, and get through this,” went the rest of the statement.

Ang Bandang Shirley. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

Another band accused of sexual misconduct is Ang Bandang Shirley. Without admitting to any wrongdoing, the band issued a more understated apology on their Facebook page.

“On the insinuations of misconduct made against Ang Bandang Shirley: With the information we have so far, it is difficult for the band to address the allegations properly, and we are currently having a conversation on the issue to discuss further action. We recognize this is a serious issue and apologize for allowing a toxic culture continue through complicity or inaction…Although this is a difficult time for everyone involved, we believe that this is a necessary step in correcting the normalized wrongs and maybe start getting things right. We support all the victims that have come forward and recognize the courage that it took for them to talk about their experiences.”

As of posting time, two more bands identified by other Twitter users in Onday’s thread namely Sud and MilesExperience have yet to issue their own statements addressing the issues against them.

Sud and MilesExperience. (Photos by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

But UP Babaylan, the LGBTQ+ student organization at the University of the Philippines, issued this statement addressing the involvement of Sud and other performers for their upcoming UP Fair scheduled for early next year.

“In light of the recent allegations of sexual harassment involving a few bands, UP Babaylan is withdrawing and will not be sending invitations to performers involved in this controversy, particularly Sud, for our UP Fair night on February 14…As an organization upholding the rights of women, we strongly condemn misogyny in all its manifestation. We further appeal to our fellow UP Fair organizers to neither tolerate nor welcome perpetuators of violence especially against women at the centerstage of our University. We remain firm that these behaviors have no place in our community…Let us create safer spaces for women to speak up and be empowered against the injustices of society!”