November 22, 2017

The Predatory Side of the Local Band Scene

It’s difficult to separate the art from the artist. As we mentioned before, it’s disappointing when the person behind your favorite movie or song turns out to be a sexual predator. Last night, music fans (and even non-fans) were shocked when people started accusing members of local bands Jensen & the Flips and SUD of sexual harassment.

It started out with a Twitter thread from college student and activist Addie Onday. According to her, she witnessed several instances of misogyny and sexism when she was actively attending gigs. “I decided to share my experiences because I felt hypocritical and disgusted with myself for knowing what I was seeing and hearing was wrong, but not doing anything about it,” she told us. “[Ever since] I knew better, I realized how these men acted was so gross.”

Addie’s thread also encouraged several people to come forward with their stories. The accounts ranged from uncomfortable exchanges to full-on harassment. These also allegedly happen at gigs or via social media. (Read the full thread here.)

One story involves Flips guitarist Sammy Valenia. He was accused of forcing himself onto a woman in a taxi. He later admitted to it and apologized on Twitter. However, he has not addressed the allegation that he tried to flirt with a minor.

“It was difficult for me to confess to Addie [about what happened with Sammy] because we’re friends with [the band members.] But looking back, I realized that it was a serious matter,” the victim told us. “After reading the other posts, I was surprised to hear about a lot of them and wondered if they’re true. No one was speaking up [on our end at first] because we were either scared or we just let them be. And we also have a fault for tolerating them.”

Because of this, concert production Vandals on the Wall prompted to remove Jensen & the Flips from their upcoming year-ender festival. They’re the second act to be removed from the gig due to sexual misconduct. The first was rapper Poor Taste. “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.”

Flips vocalist Jensen Gomez and percussionist Carlo Maraingan were also put in the spotlight for allegations of being “too touchy at gigs” and traumatic sexual experiences. But they have not spoken up about it.

We contacted Jensen & the Flips’ manager for a statement regarding the incidents. As of writing, she has not responded.

Meanwhile, the other bulk of accusations were directed at SUD. Similarly, there were accounts of inappropriate touching, unwarranted messages of wanting to hook up, and cheating on their girlfriends with fans. The members involved were vocalist Sud Ballecer, drummer Jimbo Cuenco, and pianist Kohl Aguilar.

Jimbo also issued an apology on Twitter and owned up to his faults. We reached out to him for a statement, and we were told that he will talk to their band manager and will get back to us. He also assured that they will release a collective statement later on.

Both bands have cemented their place in the local “indie scene” because of their catchy, sometimes chart-topping, hits. Anyone who’s seen them live can attest that they are entertaining to watch and also have a massive fan base.

Now, fans are deeply disappointed by their idols, expressing that they want to revamp their playlists—and rightly so. Fame and talent should not be used to take advantage of people, nor be an excuse to get away with something. And continuously supporting their work is also empowering their predatory ways. This is the same thing that happened with artist Justin Remalante and other men who’ve been outed recently. This is also just the beginning as more stories are popping up involving other bands in the scene.

We said it before, we will stand by the people—especially the women and young girls—who were brave enough to share their stories. It’s about time that (more) men became accountable for their inappropriate actions.


Art by Lara Intong

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Related stories:
Social Media Brought Down the Local Artist Who Preyed on Minors
Why It’s Time to Turn Your Stan Cards In
7 Ways We Promote Rape Culture Without Realizing It
Why ‘Boy Talk’ Is the Worst Excuse For Sexual Harassment

Filed Under:

attempted rape, culture, indie scene, Jensen & The Flips, Jensen Gomez, local bands, music, rape culture, Sammy Valenia, sexual harassment, Sud, Sud Ballecer

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