In recent times, more and more instances of sexual misconduct by musicians have been brought to light. Just last week Jesse Lacey of Brand New was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor; in the days since, Martha pulled out of their support slot on Brand New’s UK shows, and touring guitarist Kevin Devine stepped down from the band, who announced via a statement on Facebook that they’d cancelled all upcoming shows on their current tour. Unfortunately similar allegations against many artists have continued to surface, the latest being against With Confidence guitarist Luke Rockets.
Early Monday morning, allegations against Luke Rockets surfaced a Facebook post by an individual named Piper Vidler, who spoke on behalf of a friend who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of “victim-blaming and backlash.” Vidler says With Confidence was his friend’s “favorite band.” At age 14, the pair attended every show the band played in their city and soon enough became friends with the band. After Vidler’s friend apologized to Luke for not being able to make a show, the conversation “escalated incredibly quickly, and what originally was just innocent compliments suddenly turned into inappropriate comments” and taking on a sexual nature. Vidler states that Luke, who was 23, was aware that his friend was underage and says “It got to a point where my friend was so sure that he’d attempt something inappropriate with her in person next time they saw each other, that we sold the tickets we had for their next show and did not end up going.”
You can read Vidler’s statement on behalf of his friend below.
“In light of the recent events, I feel like I can no longer stay quiet about an experience that has affected someone close to me. Sadly, we still live in a society full of victim-blaming and social media backlash aimed at the people brave enough to speak up about experiences of sexual assault or misconduct. I am speaking for my friend, who has chosen to remain anonymous for these very same reasons. May this be an example to all of you that young girls are still afraid to speak up about these experiences, as the prospect of the hate they’ll receive is just as terrifying as being sexually preyed on.
This friend and I started listening to a band called With Confidence when they were just beginning to play shows. My friend got very into them, specifically their guitarist Luke “Rockets”. She was 14 at the time and he was 22, about to turn 23. She developed a crush on him, just like any other 14 year old would have. In no time, With Confidence became her favourite band, and Luke became her favourite artist. She liked them so much, she made sure to attend every show they played in our city, and even for the 18+ ones we’d wait outside just to meet them because we couldn’t get in to the concert. We met them so many times that they even got to know who we were, and would recognise us occasionally, and we became friends on Facebook.
In April of 2016, after my friend was unable to fly to Sydney for one of their gigs, she messaged Luke to apologise for not making it, and asked how the show was. That’s when they started talking. At first they exchanged casual messages, and the conversation was pretty normal, enough that she began to feel like they were actually becoming friends. It escalated incredibly quickly, and what originally was just innocent compliments suddenly turned into inappropriate comments.
He began to ask about her feet in a really undesirable manner, and slowly the conversation acquired a sexual nature. He asked her about kinks, and other adult concepts. I’d like to stress that he was aware that my friend was underage since he knew that we could not get into their 18+ shows. During many of their conversations, she would be at school with me. We were both in Year 9. At one point he asked about what grade she was in, and she purposely lied and said she was in the grade above, in Year 10, because she was afraid that he’d stop talking to her if he thought she was too young. Either way, Year 10 was still just one year older than we were, which is in the 15/16 year old age range.
At this point he was already 23, and the sexual nature of the conversations had begun to escalate even more. She would never directly say that she was uncomfortable, but in some cases she would not reply and make excuses as to why she hadn’t. I have attached screenshots, which are just a tiny portion of these conversations. For the sake of my friend’s privacy, we have blurred some of her responses out. I would also like to make it very clear that in many of the screenshots, her responses were not what she truly wanted to say, she simply said the things she said so that they could continue to be friends.
I’d like to make it clear, that my friend never sent any explicit photos, or responded to his advances. However, the weight of the influence that he had on her, someone that she admired greatly, was too heavy for her to ever directly say no, even when she felt uncomfortable. Many times me and her would find his comments funny, and respond in comedic ways, only because we were younger and didn’t understand the severity of the situation. Nevertheless, when she was home alone she would often feel very uneasy with the conversation.
Today, she still feels very ashamed of the way she responded to him in some cases, and how that could’ve encouraged him. However, he was aware that she admired him, which made her an easy target, and that is exactly what he took advantage of. These actions of a 23 year old man who knew well that he could take advantage of a 14 year old girl this way are appalling. It got to a point where my friend was so sure that he’d attempt something inappropriate with her in person next time they saw each other, that we sold the tickets we had for their next show and did not end up going.
We are lucky that she was able to stand her ground and never give in to the pressure that he was putting on her. However, that is exactly why we want to speak up about this, because we know that there are many girls who have not been able to do so. We are aware that Luke was talking to at least one other girl who was also underage at the same time as he was talking to my friend, but that is not our story to tell. We want to give a voice to the people who may have experienced something similar to this, to let them know that they are not alone and give them a platform to speak out.
Our main goal here is to get this story out there, especially because many of us are unaware of the things our own idols could have done. It’s sad that so many of these cases go undiscovered, but we are no longer willing to stay quiet about this man. He was disgusting and manipulative, he took advantage of a minor knowing that he could get what he wanted and that she would not say anything because she did not want to ruin his career. This is yet another reason why it has taken her so long to speak up, but I am more than glad that she finally is because this sexual predator deserves to be exposed.”
With Confidence were in the middle of a US tour with Knuckle Puck, however following the allegations against Luke Rockets they have been removed from the tour. Knuckle Puck stated, “Due to information that has come to light, With Confidence will not be appearing at the last six shows of our US tour. We support those affected by recent allegations.”
With Confidence have responded to the allegations via a statement on social media, stating that Luke Rockets is no longer a member of the band and that they will not be continuing on the Knuckle Puck tour, stating “We apologise but ask for your understanding.” The band have already taken to changing their default pictures to photographs that do not include Luke Rockets. Read the band’s full statement below.
“Late last night an allegation came to our attention about our guitarist Luke Rockets. Luke Rockets is no longer a member of With Confidence.
We are passionate about music being a safe space for people of all ages and are extremely disappointed and disgusted. We had absolutely no idea this had happened.
This sort of abuse of power has been all too prevalent in today’s industry. It is in these circumstances that people need to be completely stripped of that power and held accountable for their actions.
We support and have endless respect for the individual who has come forward and ask that everyone respect their right to privacy.
Unfortunately we will not be able to complete the remainder of our US tour. We apologise but ask for your understanding.
We will continue to do whatever we can to support and empower all those who have supported us.
Jayden, Josh, and Inigo
With Confidence are slated to support Tonight Alive in the UK this coming March, however no word has been issued regarding whether they’ll continue on this run. Follow Substream on Twitter for all updates.