Metal giants Megadeth announced Monday on social media they are kicking longtime bassist David Ellefson to the curb, following accusations of sexual misconduct. The 56-year-old Ellefson, who co-founded the band in 1983 along with frontman Dave Mustaine, had been accused of grooming a young fan online after sexually explicit footage of him surfaced, along with pictures of text exchanges with a girl rumored to be underage. Megadeth’s statement on Ellefson’s firing, signed by notoriously combustible frontman Dave Mustaine, hinted at an “already strained relationship” with the bass player. “We do not take this decision lightly,” the band wrote on Twitter. “While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward.”
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Ellefson had denied the accusations, saying that while it’s “not something I’m proud of,” the photos were of interactions between him and another consenting adult. He had also posted a message from a person he claimed was the girl he was interacting with, in which she said she was of legal age at the time, and had taken video of the married Ellefson without his permission and then shared it with a friend.