Last year in February, the New York Times published an exposé that shed a light on abuse Phoebe Bridgers, Mandy Moore, and other women faced at the hand of Ryan Adams. Adams was accused of both sexual and mental manipulation, and Bridgers admitted her track “Motion Sickness” was penned as a response to her experience with him. Adams was reprimanded for his actions by many but it took him a full six months to respond to the allegations. Now reflecting on her experience calling him out, Bridgers was upfront about the fact that not everyone is able to speak out against their abusers like she was.
In a recent interview with NME ahead of her album Punisher, Bridgers detailed how grateful she is for the team of people who helped publish her accusations. However, the singer also recognized her unique platform and said there’s more to be done in order for other women to speak out against their abusers while remaining safe: “When a team of amazing fact-checkers and journalists unafraid of actual lawsuits are on your side… I feel really lucky I met so many people who were willing to go to bat for me,” she said. “There’s a big conversation about privilege to be had. I, a young white female, was able to meet other young white females who had contacts with journalists. So many people do not have that.”
Bridgers also reflected on the anxiety she felt before the piece was published. The singer said that a representative from Adams’ team had gaslighted her, falsely informing her that the New York Times piece had been scrapped before one of the journalists reassured her. “Once everybody knew, it was great,” Bridgers said. “The sh*tty thing was before.”
The singer also compared allegations in the music industry to the #MeToo allegations in film, saying oftentimes musicians are more isolated:
“I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault – with movies, a lot of people know what someone pays a screenwriter, or how involved a production manager is. With music, every group is much more isolated. It can happen with power dynamics and #MeToo sh*t, but also with a manager who’s just f*cking every single person over. Or labels that sign you and flirt with you and then don’t release your sh*t. And why can they do it to 10 bands in a row? Because people don’t talk to each other. […] When I met Ryan, I didn’t know anybody in music for the most part. But then I would then meet tons of people who were like, ‘Oh my God – he is a trash person’. I didn’t have that when I was 20, and a lot of people still don’t.”
Punisher is out 6/18 via Dead Oceans. Pre-order it here.
Revisit our interview with Bridgers on Punisher here.