Following graphic allegations of sex trafficking and possessing child pornography, among other charges, DJ and electronic music producer Bassnectar has responded to an explosive lawsuit filed on behalf of multiple women.
VICE reports Bassnectar, whose real name is Lorin Ashton, has denied all of the accusations and is demanding a jury trial, according to an official response filed in a U.S. district court in Tennessee.
"This case is nothing more than an attempt by opportunistic women who have chosen to sue Ashton, his record label, managers, and even one of the charities he has contributed to, all in an attempt to frame years of friendship as trafficking so that they can exploit a statute for monetary gain," the response reads.
"Our clients want to see justice done in whatever form this takes," said Stewart Ryan, one of the lawyers representing the women. "A jury trial is not anything that our clients shy away from."
The suit was filed on behalf of two women, Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling, whose attorneys stated were "sexually abused as minors." Their attorneys cited allegations of "grooming, abuse, and trafficking," many of which were documented in the @evidenceagainstbassnectar Instagram account. A press release issued by the plaintiffs' legal team levied additional accusations of "manufacturing and possessing child pornography."
EDM.com reached out to a PR company representing the law firm at the time, but the women suing Bassnectar were not available for comment.
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Two more women, Jenna Houston and an anonymous plaintiff, eventually joined the lawsuit and formally accused Bassnectar of grooming and sexually abusing them as minors during encounters they claim to have caused physical and psychological damage.
According to Rolling Stone, Bassnectar allegedly reached out to Houston via a direct message on Twitter when she was 16 years of age and the DJ was 34. The suit claims Ashton flew Houston out to a number of his concerts over a three-year period, detailing multiple instances wherein he purportedly abused her and paid her in cash after intercourse.
The anonymous woman also accused Bassnectar of sexual abuse and grooming, including an allegation that he coerced her into sending sexually explicit photographs while she was underage. However, she has now removed herself from litigation after the court required her to reveal her real name at the request of Ashton's legal team.
"The dismissal of this anonymous accuser from this litigation is a first step toward Lorin’s complete vindication,” said Ashton’s attorneys, Mitch Schuster and Kim Hodde, in a statement. "We possess numerous communications which demonstrate that this individual’s claims were baseless, and it is clear that her withdrawal from this litigation and decision not to reveal her name, show her unwillingness to be attached to these outrageous and false allegations. We welcome this development and will not stop working until Mr. Ashton’s good name and reputation are restored."
According to VICE, an updated version of the lawsuit has named Bassnectar’s former tour manager, Carlos Donohue, as a defendant. The suit claims that Donohue helped the women obtain free tickets and transportation to the artist's shows when they were under 18.
"The claims against my clients are completely baseless and we look forward to proving that through the court,” said Cynthia Sherwood, Donohue's lawyer, who is also representing his company, Gnarlos Industries. "The allegations that remain are that he, as the tour manager, got tickets and backstage tickets for a show. To call that aiding in sex trafficking is outrageous."