The Press Coverage of Pinegrove's Comeback Proves That Discredited #MeToo Allegations Don't Wash Off

Evan Stevens Hall was essentially blackmailed by a would-be therapist. The media has hardly forgiven him.


The popular indie band Pinegrove is in the midst of a comeback tour pegged to their new album, Marigold.

Why a comeback tour? The band took a year off following sexual misconduct allegations made against lead singer Evan Stephens Hall. In November 2017, Hall publicly acknowledged the "sexual coercion" accusation; following this, the band ceased activities until late 2018.

Recent press coverage of Pinegrove explicitly mentions the controversy. A New York Times review of Marigold claimed that the album feels like it's reckoning with Hall's past, while a New Yorker piece questioned whether his period of atonement had been sufficient:

Is this enough? Some listeners will be moved by Hall's determination to keep anger at bay, but others may be disturbed that he is singing—still!—songs that seem to be about his private sorrows. There is no way to judge the sufficiency of Hall's atonement without deciding how much he had to atone for in the first place.

That last sentence is about the only thing the New Yorker story gets right. Unfortunately, it does not begin to untangle the mystery of what, exactly, Hall did.

For a useful explainer, readers must turn to frequent Reason writer Cathy Young, whose piece on the #MeToo-ing of Hall makes matters quite clear: There's little evidence Hall did anything wrong. On the contrary, he was the victim of attempted blackmailing—not by his accuser, but by another woman, who attempted to channel the accuser's anger toward Hall into a professional opportunity.

Hall's accuser was a member of the band's road crew who was dating someone else when she and Hall became intimate. The woman broke up with her boyfriend, she dated Hall for another two weeks, and then things came to an end. The woman later came to regret her actions and felt "damaged" by the relationship with Hall, even though he had not forced her into it and had never engaged in violence.

No doubt the lead singer of a band has power over his entourage. But Hall was not his accuser's boss. She even conceded that "he really had no control over me." In any case, she felt he should "take some time to reflect on the damage he had done," she later told The New Yorker.

But there's a lot more to the story, according to Young:

The New Yorker story says that Hall took a year off touring and started therapy "at the request of his accuser." But that's a rather sanitized version of the facts provided in a September 2018 article in the online music magazine Pitchfork (which The New Yorker references). It appears Hall's accuser didn't just come forward on her own; the accusations were first made in a series of emails from one Sheridan Allen, founder and head of a Philadelphia-based outfit called PunkTalks whose mission is ostensibly to "connect touring musicians and music industry workers with free therapy."

On November 14, 2017, Allen wrote to the Pinegrove label and to the organizer of a festival where the band was scheduled to perform, alluding to the #MeToo momentum and accusing Hall of "predatory and manipulative behavior toward women." She stated that she was in touch with a woman accusing Hall of sexual coercion and that this victim was "NOT THE FIRST" (caps in the original email, which Pitchfork reviewed). She also suggested that Hall should step away from performing and get therapy (which she volunteered to provide through PunkTalks); that both the band's tour and the release of its first album, Skylight, should be canceled; and that a public statement should be made about the situation.

Two days later, in an internal email to the PunkTalks team, Allen wrote that if those conditions were not met, "the original victim and another identified victim plan to speak publicly, which we support 10000%." She also referred to herself as "working directly to take down the biggest band in indie right now," a statement from which she backtracked on Twitter several months later.

These are important details. Allen notified Pinegrove of the allegations (plural) in an attempt to coerce the band into taking a series of actions that included hiring Allen's own therapy organization.

The accuser was not happy with Allen, and later said this, according to Pitchfork:

But the alleged victim, it turned out, did not want her allegation to be made public. "Sheridan Allen did many things without my knowledge, support or permission involving the Pinegrove situation, even after I had already asked her to remove herself entirely from the situation," she wrote in a statement to SPIN earlier this year. "I never asked for her to request or demand any type of statement from Pinegrove or Run for Cover. I've never said or implied to Sheridan that I wanted to 'take down' Pinegrove." Allen inserted herself in many ways, she continued, "without my knowledge or consent."

Recall that Allen had hinted at an additional sexual misconduct allegation. It turned out this one was completely fake. Regarding her sexual encounter with Hall, this other woman told Pitchfork, "The aftermath made me feel bad about myself, but I never felt that he was abusive towards me at all. If someone did have a negative experience, I want to validate that, but mine was consensual." This second woman had vented about the encounter to Allen, and she felt betrayed when she learned that Allen was falsely portraying what had happened between the woman and Hall as sexual abuse in an effort to extort the singer.

In summary, Hall's music career was put on hold for a year because a self-promoting therapist publicized two other women's private sexual encounters without their permission (mischaracterizing at least one of them in the process), and then suggested the person she was besmirching hire her as a form of penance. Given all this, The New Yorker has no business musing about whether Pinegrove has fully atoned for its sins: Like Aziz Ansari, he appears to have behaved imperfectly in a romantic situation, a mistake for which he was dragged through the mud and placed in stocks alongside actual rapists and serial exploiters.

Not only does he have nothing left to atone for, he may actually be owed an apology.

NEXT: Amy Klobuchar Boasts About Putting Myon Burrell Behind Bars. But What If He's Innocent?

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  1. apology? Seems to me he’s owed as much money as he can carry from a lawsuit for libel and slander, and that’s after whatever criminal charges come with blackmail. Doesn’t sound like he’d be alone either if it has affected the entire band

    1. doesn’t sound like any of this would be hard to prove either

      1. Except to a jury with modern women and neutered males.

        1. But I’m supposing that is supposed to be this band’s primary listening demographic? I mean can anything described as an indie band be appealing to anyone else?

  2. >>There is no way to judge the sufficiency of Hall’s atonement without deciding how much he had to atone for in the first place.

    why is it Jon Whatever @New Yorker’s job?

    >>That last sentence is about the only thing The New Yorker story gets right.

    hope they never come for you Robby I won’t know how to defend you after this kind of admission.

    1. Yeah, since it doesn’t sound like he did anything coercive or abusive, any atonement he needs to make is an entirely private matter between him and the woman he was involved with and no one else’s goddamn business.

  3. “The aftermath made me feel bad about myself, but I never felt that he was abusive towards me at all. If someone did have a negative experience, I want to validate that, but mine was consensual.”

    The ONLY way that evil MEN may REPENT of their SINS here, is to CUT OFF THEIR PECKERS!!! (And that is strictly provisional; after cutting off their peckers, they must REPENT of ALL dirty, non-LGBTDFJEOYSJDY-approved thoughts!) (Pending approval by Government-Almighty regulators and lawyers and politicians).

    1. You’re more fucked up then usual this evening it seems. Someone spike your drugs with something?

      1. One thing though…. his comment pretty much exactly represents an Italian film I saw back around 1989. It was at the student union and came recommended as “high art” despite the X or NC-17 rating.

        The plot: A dude and his wife have a baby. Wife invites a lesbian into their apartment. Very soon, her and the lesbian become a couple and exclude the husband from his own bed. He’s relegated to the couch.

        There is heavy castration imagery throughout, and the women hate the husband and cast scorn upon him. They have sex in bed with the infant between them. He’s excluded from his child.

        Eventually the denouement…. He takes an electric knife and cuts off his bits. Bloody remains in his hand, he’s welcomed back into his bed and the three cuddle together with their infant. Fin`

        I had relegated that to the back of my brain and forgotten it on “worst movie ever” lists. If I can remember the title, it goes back on the top of the list.

  4. Hall sounds like a total cuck who deserves to get shit on by this stupid bitch.

    1. A chuck he may be, but that’s no excuse to libel him.

      1. It’s only libel if it’s false. I think I’m safe.

    2. Dude probably did what he thought he had to do to come out of this. With the weight of the mob threatening to come down on him, I can’t judge him.

      1. Except it didn’t work. Never apologize to the mob that’s just like blood in the water.

        1. Yeah…. that had not yet been proven out though. Prior to this latest mob, the way you made it through such accusations was to go kiss the appropriate ass. Jessie Jackson kinda invented this version of indulgences back in the late 70’s / early 80’s with Rainbow-Push. Al Sharpton joined the bandwagon shortly. Perform a few “our father”s and donate to their charity and you are absolved.

          #MeToo kinda broke the mold – with the goal being total personal destruction.

          Trump may be responsible both for the movement and for demonstrating the cure. Being caught on tape callously talking about how he could just walk up and get any woman he wants because he’s rich and famous drove the attitude that became the movement. But his non-acknowledgement also drove the response.

          Dave Chappelle may have broken through for the rest of the world with his standup special last year.

          Prior to that, the prescription was to apologize and demonstrate proper penance. I think the guys who really didn’t do anything wrong like Aziz Ansari helped bring that to a head. Even folks like Louis C.K. – who stands accused of politely asking for sexual encounters that are both tame and a little odd – helped point out the crazed excess. When you move from “powerful people shouldn’t be able to get away with rape or coercing sex” to “you should lose your livelihood and become a pariah if you ever have a sexual encounter that someone regrets”, most people jump off the bandwagon.

          But somebody had to be first to stand up and tell them to screw off. I don’t even think we are there today. Even a good Trumpian answer would probably still leave you a severely damaged property for quite some time.

  5. No doubt the lead singer of a band has power over his entourage.

    Yeah, there is doubt. Lots of doubt.

    1. Well I know the lead singer of No Doubt had plenty of power over my erotic thoughts in the late 90s. Actually, she still does.

      1. Goddammit, Blake is the king of rednecks. First he nails Miranda and now he is nailing Gwen. He needs to hold classes.

      2. TMI!!!

        As to MEEE?!?! I STILL have thoughts of Golda Meir and Iron-Pants Maggie and “The Face that Launched a Thousand Warships” … ALL gettin’ in ON!!!! Together!!!

        1. I find it highly unlikely there were to many heterosexual (and probably bisexual) males in their 20s during the late 1990s who did not think Gwen Stefani was an absolute sex goddess. If you have any questions, just watch the video for “Don’t Speak”.

          1. It’s common among people with chronic mental illness to lose their libido. Hence the Golda Meir “joke”.

            1. Yes, you’d have to have a mental illness not to find late 1990s Gwen Stefani totally doable. Hell, I think even my wife would agree to hitting that.

              1. Which I’d be perfectly cool with watching and not participating in.

        2. If’n it be NOT yet too LATE to amend my Fantasy Three-Some…

          A Fantasy FOURSOME would include Queen Elizabeth of England!

          Friggin’ AWESOME political wench if’n I have ever HEARD of one! She kicked ASS, nine ways to Sunday!

      3. Funny that you mention that….

        You don’t hear a lot of #MeToo talk about all those female singers who have relationships with their dancers, only to toss them away. It is always just “singer is seen out with dancer from her show…. look at these nice pictures we took of them at a night club”.

  6. Allen inserted herself in many ways, she continued, “without my knowledge or consent.”

    So we could… euphemistically accuse Allen of rape.

    1. How DARE ye insert that comment unto us virgin-eared innocents, without our knowledge or consent, ye RAPIST ye! Consider me BEYOND triggered and raped and schmaped and baped!!!

      1. Pure gibberish.

  7. Once again, I cannot find in the story where Sheridan Allen was disciplined by the doctor union for this clear malpractice and fraud.

  8. Women are such pussies. And bitches.

  9. First of all, Pinegrove is fucking awesome.

    Second of all, rock stars have been rapey for the entire history of music up until 2 years ago. Compare what this guy did to chuck berry, or Zeppelin or the Stones or, god forbid, Motley Crue. He has nothing to apologize for and his biggest mistake was apologizing.

    I’ll still listen to his music and hope to see him live, again, because he’s an awesome musician.

    1. David Bowie even started in a rather creepy movie about stealing a baby to lure an underage Jennifer Connelly to his domain so he could seduce her.

      1. What is even creepier is it was a Jim Henderson creation and the screenplay was written by Monty Python Alum Terry Jones.

        1. This is about furries, isn’t it?

          1. Hadn’t actually thought about that angle. Was Labyrinth the Genesis of the furry kink?

  10. Lol! Nobody gives a fuck.

  11. indie emo alt-country rock?

    Been done

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  14. But the alleged victim, it turned out, did not want her allegation to be made public.

    The “damage he had done” suggests she’s the type who doesn’t take responsibility as an active participant in her relationships. Either she wants to be infantilized or she doesn’t.

    1. That is the key attribute of 4th wave feminism and leftism. The idea is that the world owes you everything you desire and facing consequences for your own actions is unfair

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  17. That rock musicians, particularly punk rockers, have their own group to provide free therapy is a clear sign that society has a problem.

    1. And also explains why rock is dead as a cultural thing

  18. But there’s a lot more to the story

    Not really. They are immature, promiscuous kids having sex, and frequently, anger and accusations fly. Why should anybody be upset about this?

    You want to avoid this? Don’t have sex with women before they marry you, and pick who you marry very, very carefully.

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  20. This is nothing more than your usual cuck-tier counter signaling. The men act meek and try to downplay their status (Hall is reasonably attractive, his fans adore him and ofc they want to sleep with him) because they believe normal, healthy signaling of their positive traits is ineffective. And they’re not entirely wrong; it sounds like Hall has a lot of options.

    While I don’t believe the women in this situation, men who behave like this are often predators. They’re like white knights on steroids. They play the role of submissive, castrated male, but they play it so well and keep getting laid that one can’t help but wonder if the whole point was to get some. That’s the really insidious part. They take “wolf in sheep’s clothing” to a whole new level.

    JBP said something about male feminists and I can’t remember how it went, but the gist was about how predatory they really are. It’s not like they actually sincerely believe in feminism. They’re just desperate cucks who will say and do anything for women. The desperation is the scary part. How did these men become so unconfident and dependent, like battered wives? How did this so called movement of equality do nothing more than flip the tables and make men more like women?

    You are hereby summoned to appear before The Me Too Court of Inquisition to answer charges of sexual heresy and blasphemy. After confessing your sins you will be expected to perform acts of penance as deemed appropriate by the Me Too Panel of Inquisitors. You will then be taken to the Chambers of the Grand Inquisitor where you will be interrogated to determine whether you are in league with the patriarchy.

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