Singer-songwriter and music producer Ryan Adams has been 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.” Other women in music 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 praise, 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.”