Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker went into protective dad mode when his 13-year-old daughter Alabama alleged that an adult musician repeatedly sent her predatory messages on Instagram. The man in question is Graham Sierota, the 20-year-old drummer of pop-punk band Echosmith. Sierota allegedly reached out to Alabama Barker for the first time in 2016 when the girl was just 10 years old.
Alabama, Barker’s daughter with model Shanna Moakler, posted the receipts on her Instagram story on Wednesday, sharing screenshots from her alleged direct message exchange with Sierota. The screenshots show several messages from Sierota, blue verification check and all, in September 2016 that simply read “Hi,” and one that says, “By the way I’m Graham from echosmith and I think ur beautiful.”
Alabama appears not to have responded to any of the messages.
Earlier this month, however, Sierota seems to have attempted to contact her again. A message from July 12, 2019, captured in the same initial screenshot, is an evite to a barbecue he was hosting. Alabama posted the story with the caption: “Hey guys! So once again I am bringing this to your attention because I’m a 13 year old girl and he is 21 / 20 super creepy.”
Nine days after Sierota allegedly sent the party invite, Alabama responded to the unwanted attention with, “Ur like 40.” Sierota was quick to respond, replying, “I just wanted to say i really like ur music and sorry for messaging and I’m 20.” (The teen is following in her father’s footsteps as an aspiring musician.) She was not shaken by Sierota’s apology, responding, “Ok but u understand I’m a child?” Screenshots of these messages were also posted on Alabama’s Instagram story. This time, she tagged the official Echosmith account. Echosmith did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, Sierota told The Daily Beast, “I had invited Alabama to my parents’ big family BBQ along with many other people, and it wasn’t until she responded that I realized her age at which point I apologized to her. I’m really sorry and feel very badly about this. I didn’t realize she was a minor and assumed she was my age. I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologize again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family.” He did not address the alleged direct message exchange with Alabama in 2016.
Travis Barker is understandably upset about the situation. He told The Blast, “When I found out a 20 year old man was trying to get in touch with my 13 year old daughter by filling her Instagram messages with party invites and compliments, I was disgusted.”
Depressingly, this is far from the first incident of creepy behavior directed at underage girls in the world of pop-punk music. The most high-profile allegations of sexual harassment within the genre broke back in the fall of 2017. During the dawn of the #MeToo era, the singer and guitarist of cult-favorite band Brand New, Jesse Lacey, was accused of sexual misconduct by two women.
Both women alleged that years of traumatizing sexual harassment and emotional manipulation at the hands of Lacey began when they were teenagers below the age of consent. Lacey’s first accuser, Nicole Elizabeth Garey, wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post that she was 15 when then-24-year-old Lacey began soliciting her for nude photos. Similarly, Emily Driskill was a 16-year-old concert photographer and Brand New fan when Lacey allegedly began wielding his influence to pressure her into sexual situations.
In response to the allegations, Lacey issued a sort of blanket apology on the band’s Facebook page for how he has “hurt people, mistreated them, lied, and cheated.” The emo frontman neglected to directly mention or apologize to his accusers.
Lacey had to face the music when two of Brand New’s tourmates—Martha and Kevin Devine—dropped out in solidarity with the survivors and the band was forced to cancel their remaining show dates. However, all too often, musicians who exploit their power over young, vulnerable female fans get away with it relatively unscathed.
The 2015 Vans Warped Tour was shrouded in controversy when producers allowed Jake McElfresh of solo act Front Porch Step to perform in spite of sexual misconduct accusations. At the time, Warped Tour producer Kevin Lyman told Billboard, “The kid got himself in a little trouble. No charges, no court appearance, no restraining orders, nothing, it was a ‘stupidity of the road’ kind of thing. We stepped in and got him into counseling right away in Nashville.” McElfresh, then 23, was accused of exchanging sexually explicit text messages and nude photos with at least six teenage girls.
Dismissive responses to abuse allegations like Lyman’s only serve to further normalize the predatory actions of famous men. As Barker told The Blast of his daughter’s alleged harassment, “That’s predatory behavior and there is nothing cool, normal or ok about it at all.”
This story has been updated with comment from Sierota.