Gloryhammer + Chris Bowes Finally Issue Responses to Racist + Misogynistic Leaked Chat
Power metal group Gloryhammer and, independently, keyboardist Chris Bowes (also of Alestorm and Wizardthrone) have issued responses after leaked group chats showed members of the band (under aliases) using obscenely racist and misogynistic language. Gloryhammer also addressed the abuse accusations levied against bassist James Cartwright by an unnamed source.
On Aug. 22, the band unexpectedly announced they had terminated singer Thomas Winkler and, shortly after, screenshots of a group messages emerged, in which the band members engaged in conversations about treating women of various races as boxes to check off on a list of sexual escapades. Strong, offensive language was used when referencing certain races of people and their nationalities, with Bowes in particular using the n-word and other racial slurs for Black people, while another bandmate crudely described the physical appearance of others.
Three days later, on Aug. 25, the band acknowledged that these screenshots had been circulating online and made note of the abuse allegations against Cartwright, vowing a formal statement would come at a later date.
This prompted Vincent Jackson Jones, bassist and vocalist of Aether Realm as well as Wizardthrone, to suspend all projects and activities with Bowes while he urged the musician to make a statement rather than disengage in continued silence.
Official statements from both Gloryhammer and Bowes were issued today (Sept. 3).
On Instagram, Bowes shared a handwritten letter as well as a link to a plain text version of his statement, in which he profusely apologized for his and his bandmate's actions, while offering clarity on what prompted these inflammatory messages in the first place.
He took full responsibility for what he said and explained, "Some of us in the band built a private puerile culture for ourselves of always trying to one-up each other by sending progressively more deliberately offensive messages in our chat group, always justifying our incensive [sic] language to ourselves by thinking "It's fine, we don't actually believe this in real life, it's just a joke."
Bowes stressed that this is not at all a joke and committed himself to working with "professionals" to better understand the damage he has caused through use of his undeniably offensive language.
At the top of the statement, the musician noted that his response time was delayed because he received "legal advice" to remain quiet and not address the issue. He concluded by telling fans he does not expect them to feel any obligation to give him a second chance, now that he has confirmed the details that were first reported to be true.
Gloryhammer's response, which came immediately after Bowes posted his personal statement, spoke in more vague terms concerning an apology, in which they felt it pertinent to point out that the leaked chat took place in 2017.
Concerning the accusations of abuse levied against Cartwright, the band said, "We wish to make it clear that these are false and all claims of this nature will be addressed and passed on to the relevant authorities."
Both statements have been reproduced in their entirety directly below.
Official Statement From Chris Bowes (Gloryhammer, Alestorm, Wizardthrone)
Hi everyone. Chris here.
Before I get started, I want to explain the delay in me saying anything. Serious writing like this doesn't come naturally to me, and I've received a lot of legal advice to maintain "radio silence" while all details were being investigated. However, this issue is weighing heavily on me and I feel like there's a lot I need to say to you all.
By now you're probably all aware of a series of leaked screenshots from the online band member chat group of Gloryhammer, showing a conversation that took place in August 2017.
To my fans, my friends, and anyone else who has had the misfortune of having to read what I said, I must apologise. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. Words cannot express how remorseful I am to have hurt you with my actions.
Today I want to take full responsibility for this whole situation, on behalf of everyone in Gloryhammer. I've let you all down, massively. I can't imagine the pain some of you must be feeling reading the racist, misogynistic, and frankly horrific things I'd said in conversations with my bandmates.
Some of us in the band built a private puerile culture for ourselves of always trying to one-up each other by sending progressively more deliberately offensive messages in our chat group, always justifying our incensive [sic] language to ourselves by thinking "It's fine, we don't actually believe this in real life, it's just a joke".
It's not fine. This behavior was totally unacceptable. While I understand it is not my place to decide if I am a misogynistic and racist person, I want to stress that I have never held personal beliefs that would reflect the things I had said. But I know this does not excuse anything, either.
As time went on, I found myself increasingly more repulsed by the things I'd said. Over the past few years I received pushback, and the occasional stern lecture, from close friends who gradually impressed upon me why this stuff is wrong, no matter the context. I'm a slow learner, and change is hard, but in recent years I've been trying my best to not act like the kind of person you see in these messages anymore. However, I know that's not enough, so right now I'm working with professionals to help me get a better understanding of the damage I caused, because I know I'm still a long way away from being the good person I could be.
I know I can never take back the things I said, or completely undo the damage I've done. To the fans of my music who once looked up to me, I bear the most grief; my betrayal of your faith in me must hurt beyond measure. I want to commit myself to making amends with everyone who feels wounded by what I said, through working alongside charities and in whatever other ways I can.
None of you are obligated to give me another chance, but I will continue working to become someone worthy of your trust.
Official Statement From Gloryhammer
To everyone affected by recent events,
Following Christopher’s statement today, Gloryhammer wish to sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the disgusting and inexcusable comments made by band members in a private group chat from August 2017 which have recently become public.
We are deeply sorry for the hurt, distress and anger caused by the use of misogynistic and racist language and the shameful attitudes displayed within those messages. Most of all, we are sorry for letting you, the fans down by behaving in this way. To speak in this way, even in private, even as a ‘joke’, is wholly unacceptable.
While we have wanted to comment on this situation from the beginning, we felt that we must respect Christopher’s wish to address the issue himself first.
Regarding other allegations that have been circulated involving members of the band: we wish to make it clear that these are false and all claims of this nature will be addressed and passed on to the relevant authorities.
We understand that for many of you, this episode is unforgivable. Nevertheless it is our hope that we can move forward from this in a new spirit of humility and understanding, so that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. We promise to dedicate ourselves to making amends in whatever way we can moving forwards.
Read the complete, original reporting regarding the leaked Gloryhammer chat and abuse accusations here.