Singer-songwriter and music producer Ryan Adams is being accused of abuse, manipulation, and sexual misconduct by several women in a New York Times exposé that includes allegations that he offered stardom in exchange for sexual favors. The women say that when they spurned his advances, he resorted to emotional abuse and harassment via social media and text.
One woman, a then-aspiring bassist identified as “Ava” in the report, offered evidence of correspondence with Adams beginning when she was 15 years old including graphic messages and sexually explicit Skype calls. In one message, he compares himself to the notorious accused predator R. Kelly, writing: “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”
Yet within 10 minutes, the conversation again turned explicit. “I just want you to touch your nipple,” he texted, before again asking about her age. “And tell me that your mom is not gonna kill me if she finds out we even text.”
In response to Adams’s repeated pleas that she tell him she was 18 — “You have to convince me,” he wrote — Ava at times said she was. Sometimes he asked to see identification — “in the hottest way that has ever been done Lol.” She never showed him any ID.
Other women in the music industry corroborate the account with similar stories of his alleged manipulations. Phoebe Bridgers says in the report that Adams “gave her a pricey vintage guitar” and promises to open the doors of success for her, but that he “turned obsessive and emotionally abusive” after a few weeks. When she ended their relationship, he withheld the music the two had worked on together. Other singers refused to be named due to worries about retaliation from Adams, but reported a similar pattern of harassment and professional retaliation. Ex-wife Mandy Moore also described “psychologically abusive” behavior, saying, “He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument’” and that “his controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s.”
Adams denied the accusations, with his lawyer telling the Times, “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” and calling the accusations “extremely serious and outlandish.”