Last Friday, amid an ever-growing series of disturbing allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, Real Estate chose to disclose to Pitchfork that they fired guitarist Matt Mondanile in 2016 for allegations of sexual misconduct. Pitchfork says that in a conversation prior to the band’s statement, Mondanile denied the allegations.
Though at the time the band said he was focusing on his solo work as Ducktails, the decision to make the underlying reason public on Friday appears to be spurred by a crisis of conscience in the wake of intense scrutiny in the realm of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault. The band’s label, Domino Records, has also confirmed that Mondanile no longer works with them; he self-released the last Ducktails album, this year’s Jersey Devil.
Here is the band’s new statement to Pitchfork:
Matt Mondanile was fired in February 2016 when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention. While we urged him to seek counseling at the time of termination, we are no longer in contact. We feel that any abuse of one’s power or status to victimize another is completely unacceptable. We applaud the courage of the women who came forward to make us aware so that we could address the issue head on.
The band have not shared additional reasoning behind the decision to make this information public now, over a year after the split. Although in an interview with Uproxx conducted earlier this year, Real Estate member Martin Courtney hedged a bit about the split:
“Him not being in the band, it wasn’t simply … He didn’t just quit. I mean, there’s more to it. It’s kind of stuff that I don’t necessarily want to talk about. So I don’t know, it’s just complicated. It’s definitely a little more mutual than I guess what people might think is the case.”
We reached out to Mondanile for comment on Friday, but have yet to receive a response. In the meantime, last night Detroit-based journalist and sex educator Zoë Ligon came forward on Twitter with explicit details about her experience stating that Mondanile had coercive sex with her, and then offered to pay her if she’d “come over,” posting text message screenshots from the encounter:
Ligon says she has spoken to many women who were assaulted by Mondanile, stating the acts range from “unwanted touching to penetrative rape” and that he’s had “many opportunities to change and hasn’t.” Ligon gave permission for her tweets to be used in this piece, and we will update with more information as it becomes available.
It’s also worth noting, that on Friday similar allegations of sexual assault against Canadian musician Alex Calder were shared publicly for the first time. Calder has been dropped from his label Captured Tracks, and the label decided not to move forward with Friday’s scheduled release of his album.
If you are a victim or survivor of sexual assault, resources for support are available through RAINN‘s National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.