Otep cancels tour plans following alleged sexual harassment

Posted by on March 23, 2015

Last year, we wrote about Terror Universal, a masked band that allegedly contains members of Ill Nino, Machine Head and Soulfly. And although it’s being vigorously disputed  by the band, Otep have pulled out of a co-headlining run with Ill Nino for the second incarnation of the Civil Unrest tour claiming the singer of Terror Universal attempted to grab her crotch during a meet and greet. It’s not clear what members of Ill Nino are in Terror Universal, but singer Otep Shamaya released a statement via Facebook about the band’s decision to not tour on their Facebook page:

Before the rumor mill begins: We dropped off the Civil Unrest tour because Terror Universals molester singer violently grabbed my crotch on our last tour. He’s a drunken joke and a fucking scumbag. He’s lucky security handled it before I or my band could. We gave them a shot to play in front of our fans and we were repaid by this drunken jackass violating me during the meet and greet in front of our fans. We made it very clear that we will never play any show that has Terror Universal on it. We don’t tolerate any kind of passive sexual violence. We owe that to our fans and I never want to experience anything like that again especially from an opening act we were trying to help by giving them exposure to our TRIBE. We will be headlining in May-June and give the TRIBE a proper RIOT without any pants rapists on the bill. Onwards & upwards.

Terror Universal explained their side of the story via a statement on their Facebook page written by the vocalist’s wife, Jenny Armstrong, which of course says that Shamaya’s claims are false:

By now many of you have heard or read Otep Shamaya’s slanderous statement against my husband of 9 years Chad, aka ROTT singer of TERROR UNIVERSAL. Please be aware that Chad and I have 2 children, a little boy, as well as a little girl.

OTEP’s accusations are inflammatory, and untrue to say the least, let me explain…. While TERROR UNIVERSAL was supporting OTEP on the February West Coast dates, Rott was on his way out of the club, and as Rott walked by he tapped Otep on the leg and said “Good night Otep”, this is when she jumped back, and said he grabbed her crotch, and ordered to have him thrown out of the club.

Why didn’t OTEP say anything about this before?? Why wait 4 weeks, to disclose such a damaging action? How has this turned into talk of assault and sexual violence? For the past 9 years, I have seen my husband time after time treat me and his children with nothing but respect, and show nothing but kindness to everyone he encounters.

And here is the really ironic part of all of this…I was raped many years ago, before I knew Rott. It was his unconditional love and respect that pulled me through all of the mental and emotional distress, that this created for me. It seems so unreal that we are now in the position of defending a man who has always stood up for the right thing and would NEVER bring harm to a woman.

I also just have to point out that it is so disheartening to see the comments that people are posting. The threats from the Otep tribe are violent and downright scary. Especially if they were directed at your husband, or the father of your children.

This was honestly meant as a friendly gesture (a tap on the leg) at the end of a show between two band members has escalated into horrible name calling and threats. The truth is 2 days after the West Coast tour ended, Chad reached out to Otep and Otep’s brother, to both clear the air, and open lines of communication. There has been no willingness from anyone in the Otep camp to have a civil conversation about this incident.

It is a shame that this could not have been handled between the two individuals, in a friendly manner. True to form, the social media will further complicate this issue and create hate, and will cloud the fact that all this could have been dealt with professionalism, and compassion.

The Facebook page for the tour, which will be announcing its lineup later today, also released a statement regarding Otep’s claim:

OTEP is not telling the truth.

The Civil Unrest Tour and its affiliates do not support the violation of another individuals personal space, rape, violence against women or any person for that matter. Many of us have families and children. We would never stand for or beside the kind of behavior that Otep is falsely accusing others of perpetrating.

What we do support is the TRUTH.

The truth is that OTEP’s business team confirmed OTEP for this tour for certain financial terms and OTEP’s team breached their own agreement after announcement and attempted to blackmail and extort the agency responsible for the tour with slanderous defamation threats against the agency , the bands and all parties involved, in an attempt to secure more money…

It truly is a sad state of affairs in the music industry and the world where blatant slander about a very serious accusation becomes business practice for an artist now known as notorious for canceling tours in the 11th hour.

Stay tuned for more updates as Civil Unrest moves forward beyond this disgusting abuse of social media and public trust.

So now it’s a he said/she said situation, and the whole thing seems unfortunate. If Otep was actually harassed, then she has a right to speak up about it, and should be taken seriously. Even if she knew him, getting your crotch grabbed by a guy in a mask has “trigger” written all over it. However, with both the singer’s wife and the tour itself disputing the events, if it turns out she’s not telling the truth, that makes her look pretty bad, especially if it’s about money. Kittie appear to have replaced Otep on the tour, with 36 Crazyfists also on the bill.

[via theprp]

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Categorised in: Controversy, News, Touring