Two women have filed a lawsuit against Bassnectar, claiming he sexually abused them when they were minors and accusing him of sex trafficking and soliciting explicit photos of them. The news follows Bassnectar’s announcement from last summer that he’s quitting the music industry.
Rolling Stone reports that Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling alleged the now-43-year-old producer used “his power and influence to groom and ultimately sexually victimize underage girls,” according to the complaint. In addition to naming Bassnectar, the suit also accuses his companies and affiliates Amorphous Music, Bassnectar Touring, Redlight Management, C3 Presents, and Interactive Giving Fund of sex trafficking.
Bassnectar’s attorney Michelle Schuster told Vulture, “These outrageous claims—which were clearly designed for the media, rather than for the courts—are completely without merit, and we eagerly look forward to proving so.”
Allegations that Bassnectar—real name Lorin Ashton—was grooming and sexually abusing underage women first surfaced in June 2020 through the Instagram account @EvidenceAgainstBassnectar. A month later, the EDM DJ said on social media that he was “stepping back” from his career “to take responsibility and accountability.” He added, “The rumors you are hearing are untrue, but I realize some of my past actions have caused pain, and I am deeply sorry.”
Ramsbottom and Bowling were fans of Bassnectar when they were underage. They say he contacted them via direct messages on Twitter, with him first reaching out to Ramsbottom in September 2012. The suit claims he knew she was underage, with the pair talking about her high school homework. In May 2013, he allegedly invited Ramsbottom to his hotel in Memphis to have sex with her, and afterward paid her $1,000. That same year, the pair stayed in a Nashville hotel, where he kept Ramsbottom for four days. The two had sex multiple times, with Bassnectar “[requiring] Rachel to hide when room service arrived and [becoming] angry when Rachel answered the phone,” per the suit. The DJ also asked Ramsbottom to send sexually explicit photos during the course of their relationship.
Bowling says she had a similar experience with Bassnectar. The two first met after a Las Vegas show in April 2014 when she was under 18. She wasn’t able to enter the venue because she was underage, so she met the artist outside his hotel, where they allegedly kissed for around six hours, resulting in him giving her $300. In July, he visited Bowling in Kentucky, where she lived, and the two had sex at his hotel, after which he paid her $1,600. The pair continued to have sex through August, and Bassnectar also requested explicit photos from Bowling.
According to the suit, Bassnectar contacted Ramsbottom in 2016, following the explosion of the #MeToo movement, and in 2019 said he would pay for her therapy. In summer 2020, Ramsbottom tried to discuss his abuse with him. He also reached out to Bowling in 2020, in what the lawsuit calls an “attempt to maintain Alexis’s loyalty and prevent her from speaking out against his unlawful conduct.”
In a press release, one of the attorneys for the two accusers, Brian Kent, said, “We have seen a true reckoning in recent years of powerful individuals and institutions finally being held to account for years of sexual abuse against adults and minors. But we have only begun to scratch the surface of how these influential figures and entities can go on for years committing abuses without being held responsible. This lawsuit is about seeking justice not just against Bassnectar but against the corporations that cooperate in and help facilitate the abuses he is alleged to have committed.”