Support Acts Abandon Smith Street Band Tour Over 'Abuse' Allegations
Allegations of abuse by a prominent Australian songwriter of a former partner has led to several support acts abandoning the band's upcoming Australian tour.
Melbourne rock act The Smith Street Band, whose latest album debuted at number three on the ARIA charts last year, have had their March national tour thrown into chaos as both support bands withdrew from the bill.
New Zealand band The Beths and Australian act Sweater Curse have both abandoned the tour in the last 24 hours, after a week where the Smith Street Band's frontman Wil Wagner became embroiled in controversy due to allegations of emotional abuse and threats of physical harm directed at a former partner.
Screenshots of emails, purported to have been written by Wagner in 2016, have circulated online and in the Australian music community for several days, after being posted on Instagram and message boards.
The emails, the veracity of which 10 daily has been unable to independently verify, appear to show Wagner directing abuse at a former partner.
Georgia McDonald, the singer for fellow Melbourne band Camp Cope -- who dated Wagner for a period prior to 2016 -- has identified herself as the recipient of those emails.
"The last contact he had with me... he threaten [sic] to kill me and then himself," McDonald said in a statement posted to social media on Tuesday night.
She claimed that Wagner had identified her in a message board post as the "toxic girlfriend" in the "toxic breakup" that the Smith Street Band's last album was themed around, and that she had asked him to "leave me out of it".
"My safety had been compromised," McDonald said.
10 daily has contacted the Smith Street Band, directly and through their record label, for comment.
In his own statement on social media on Tuesday, Wagner appeared to admit he had sent the emails, but claimed they were shown "out of context". The emails posted to Instagram and message boards showed mainly Wagner's alleged messages to McDonald, and very little of her responses to him.
"Over the past few days, private emails dating back to 2013 have been made public. Some were messages sent at the end of a turbulent relationship. Things were said that have led to regret, things that were angry and mean. These emails have been selectively shown out of context accompanied by one-sided statements," read a statement posted on the Smith Street Band's Instagram page.
In a direct quote from Wagner, the songwriter said:
"I'm not hiding from anything. I said some incredibly hurtful things that I completely regret."
"I ask that you make up your own minds based on what has actually been said rather than form an opinion based on someone else's version," he continued.
Just hours after the Instagram post, Brisbane band Sweater Curse -- who had been slated to open all shows on the Smith Street Band's upcoming seven-date national tour, including concerts at the Enmore Theatre and Forum Theatre -- announced they were leaving the tour, but did not give an explicit reason why.
"Sweater Curse will no longer be a part of the upcoming Smith Street Band tour in March and April. We are sorry to those of you who were planning on coming down early to see us play, but we will be visiting you all soon and hope we can see you then," the band told fans on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday morning, Kiwi act The Beths were more direct.
"We won't be supporting with the Smith Street Band on their Australian tour, apologies to those who have bought tickets," the band said on Facebook.
"Thank you to the people who dropped a line to let us know what is going on, we don't want to support this abuser and we stand with the victims involved."
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