On Wednesday afternoon, The New York Times published a story featuring interviews with seven women and more than a dozen additional sources alleging that the acclaimed singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has repeatedly offered to jumpstart the careers of young women aspiring to be musicians, only to then manipulatively pursue them for sex.
Mandy Moore, for example, who was married to Adams from 2009 until 2016, and who is a decade his junior, said that Adams’s “psychologically abusive” treatment of her effectively led her to end her musical career. (She began her successful acting career the same year that she and Adams divorced.) The 24-year-old musician Phoebe Bridgers said that Adams treated her similarly, eventually rescinding his offers for her to accompany him on tour and release the music that they recorded together and threatening to kill himself when she rejected his advances.
An hour after the story broke, the 44-year-old, who’s worked with musicians such as John Mayer, Willie Nelson, and Norah Jones and is a seven-time Grammy nominee, addressed it via three tweets that he shared with his nearly 780,000 followers. “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly,” he wrote. From there, he followed the typical formula of what are essentially apologetic non-apologies issued by men accused of sexual assault, calling some of the details in the article, which he described as painting an “upsettingly inaccurate” picture, as “misrepresented,” “exaggerated,” and “outright false,” and adding that he’s “working to be the best man [he] can be” and is greatly saddened to hear that “some people believe [he] caused them pain.”
Those might be the only tweets addressing the story currently on his timeline, but according to screenshots there was another, much less measured tweet that Adams has since deleted. The story seems to confirm that Adams knew the exposé’s publication was on the way; his lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, is repeatedly quoted throughout the article, in large part responding for Adams himself, such as, “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage.”
In the now deleted tweet apparently posted on Wednesday before the Times story was published, Adams denies the allegations so strongly that he threatened the Times with legal action. (Strangely enough, it came as a reply to a tweet posted by the spiritual guru Ram Dass, along with a photo of Adams hiding his eyes behind two donuts, which Adams also Instagrammed.)
“Happy Vanentines [sic] day @nytimes. I know you got lawyers. But do you have the truth on your side. No. I do. And you have run out of friends. My folks are NOT your friends,” he wrote. “Run your smear piece. But the legal eagles see you. Rats. I’m f—ing taking you down. Let’s learn I bait.”
Adams, of course, isn’t the only one who’s been speaking out. Many Twitter users have taken care to highlight the story that a now 20-year-old woman who’s since abandoned her music career shared with the Times of her relationship with Adams, whom she said began corresponding with her when she was 14. By the time she was 16, she said, Adams, then 40, had exposed himself to her on Skype on multiple occasions and sent her enough graphic texts that he eventually said, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley [sic] lol.” Overall, the story has also garnered attention from musicians such as Bethany Cosentino of the band Best Coast and the singers Kimya Dawson and Vanessa Carlton, the latter of whom asserted that “there are more like [Adams] in the industry.”
Lena Dunham also expressed her support of Moore, who, in the hours after the story was published, Instagrammed the portrait that appeared of her in the Times, accompanied by the caption, “Speaking your truth can be painful and triggering but it’s always worth it. My heart is with all women who have suffered any sort of trauma or abuse. You are seen and heard. #sisterhoodforever.”
Adams, for his part, has yet to publicly follow up on his threat of legal action.