My experience with Slaves and Jonny Craig
Among all the stories swirling around within the Warped Tour “scene”, I have tried my best to stay off social media with any of my own feelings on the matter. I do not know Jake McElfresh, Ronnie Radke, Austin Kerr, Austin Jones, or anyone else wrapped up in previous sexual assault/harassment allegations, enough to form a strong opinion one way or the other. I believe there are three sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth. All you can offer are your own experiences with those involved.
With that said, I can’t hold myself back from standing up for some of my dearest friends in Slaves and more specifically, Jonny Craig. I was Jonny’s longest-running crew member. I began touring with him just a year into my career and it was immediately following the release of his Alternative Press cover back in 2012. He was fresh out of rehab and adjusting back to life on the road. On our first couple tours together he drank heavily, and yes, said some things in a drunk state that I would not consider appropriate (but, who hasn’t done that?). When Slaves was formed, there was a significant, positive change in Jonny. It was clear that he was happier and was surrounded by friends who really care for his well-being. Jonny is a far cry from the person I met back in 2012.
I have been with Jonny at some of his best and worst moments. Even at his worst, not once did I EVER have a single thought that he might become aggressive, violent, or threatening towards me. I have never believed him to be sexually harassing me. Never. If I became offended at every sexual joke from people I worked with, I would have a problem with everyone. I’m a woman spending every moment of my time on the road surrounded by men. Sexual jokes are bound to happen. They just do when you are around friends, male or female. And if you don’t consider the people you tour with your friends, you probably shouldn’t be touring with them.
I do believe this entire situation has been stretched to the furthest extent and it doesn’t make sense. The fact that the internet has resorted to calling Jonny a rapist is frightening. Jonny and the rest of Slaves have worked very hard to be a part of Warped Tour. Jonny has done everything he can to prove himself changed to Kevin Lyman. For that reason, I find it extremely difficult to believe that he or the band would throw all of that away to sell drugs at the merch table or harm their merch manager.
I believe this should have been handled in a different way and kept between band, crew, and management. What should have been a quick change in crew, has been blown up and torn apart by the internet. In the simplest terms, I would boil this down to being nothing more than a clash of personalities.