Controversy rose shortly after Gloryhammer parted ways with their now former vocalist Thomas Winkler last month. An anonymous Twitter account was formed sharing controversial screenshots of an alleged group chat between members of the band involving racist and misogynist comments. The band has previously addressed that they’ve been investigating the shared images, asking fans for their patience while looking into the leaked conversation. Today (3rd), it appears these screenshots are accurate as Christopher Bowes, who is also a member of Alestorm and Wizardthrone, has broke his silence.
Bowes issued the following statement:
“Hi everyone. Chris here.
Before I get started, I want to explain the delay in me saying anything. Serious writing like this doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’ve received a lot of legal advice to maintain “radio silence” while all details were being investigated. However, this issue is weighing heavily on me and I feel like there’s a lot I need to say to you all. By now you’re probably all aware of a series of leaked screenshots from the online band member chat group of Gloryhammer, showing a conversation that took place in August 2017. To my fans, my friends, and anyone else who has had the misfortune of having to read what I said, I must apologise. From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. Words cannot express how remorseful I am to have hurt you with my actions. Today I want to take full responsibility for this whole situation, on behalf of everyone in Gloryhammer. I’ve let you all down, massively. I can’t imagine the pain some of you must be feeling reading the racist, misogynistic, and frankly horrific things I’d said in conversations with my bandmates. Some of us in the band built a private puerile culture for ourselves of always trying to one-up each other by sending progressively more deliberately offensive messages in our chat group, always justifying our incensive language to ourselves by thinking “It’s fine, we don’t actually believe this in real life, it’s just a joke”.
It’s not fine. This behavior was totally unacceptable. While I understand it is not my place to decide if I am a misogynistic and racist person, I want to stress that I have never held personal beliefs that would reflect the things I had said. But I know this does not excuse anything, either. As time went on, I found myself increasingly more repulsed by the things I’d said. Over the past few years I received pushback, and the occasional stern lecture, from close friends who gradually impressed upon me why this stuff is wrong, no matter the context. I’m a slow learner, and change is hard, but in recent years I’ve been trying my best to not act like the kind of person you see in these messages anymore. However, I know that’s not enough, so right now I’m working with professionals to help me get a better understanding of the damage I caused, because I know I’m still a long way away from being the good person I could be. I know I can never take back the things I said, or completely undo the damage I’ve done. To the fans of my music who once looked up to me, I bear the most grief; my betrayal of your faith in me must hurt beyond measure. I want to commit myself to making amends with everyone who feels wounded by what I said, through working alongside charities and in whatever other ways I can. None of you are obligated to give me another chance, but I will continue working to become someone worthy of your trust.”
The group shared the following apology:
“To everyone affected by recent events, Following Christopher’s statement today (https://tinyurl.com/2s5r9zdu), Gloryhammer wish to sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the disgusting and inexcusable comments made by band members in a private group chat from August 2017 which have recently become public. We are deeply sorry for the hurt, distress and anger caused by the use of misogynistic and racist language and the shameful attitudes displayed within those messages. Most of all, we are sorry for letting you, the fans down by behaving in this way. To speak in this way, even in private, even as a ‘joke’, is wholly unacceptable. While we have wanted to comment on this situation from the beginning, we felt that we must respect Christopher’s wish to address the issue himself first. Regarding other allegations that have been circulated involving members of the band: we wish to make it clear that these are false and all claims of this nature will be addressed and passed on to the relevant authorities. We understand that for many of you, this episode is unforgivable. Nevertheless it is our hope that we can move forward from this in a new spirit of humility and understanding, so that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. We promise to dedicate ourselves to making amends in whatever way we can moving forwards.”