f there was one punk group that positioned itself as a pacesetter of a motion for inclusivity, radical change, and allyship within the early 2000s, it was Anti-Flag.
Co-founded by Justin Geever, a.okay.a. Justin Sane, in Pittsburgh in 1993, members flitted out and in till the group solidified in 1999. Anti-Flag would go on to attract legions of devoted followers for his or her progressive messaging and political activism, together with anti-war causes and animal-rights advocacy.
Geever served because the face, voice, and outward idealism of the group for many years. The band was proud to declare itself a protected area for individuals of all walks of life, particularly ladies, and have become vocal supporters of survivors of violent crime after the homicide of a band member’s sister. That idealism would additionally turn into a central tenet to a few of Geever’s lyrics. “This is what a feminist appears to be like like!” he sings on 2005’s “Feminism Is for Everybody,” adopted instantly by “This is what a feminist appears like!”
Knowing what the band meant to so many, Kristina Sarhadi was sickened by the burden that she might shatter followers’ whole religion within the group. The New York holistic therapist and well being coach had been a die-hard fan till a fall 2010 night time with Geever. “It’s been this inside battle for me for over a decade,” Sarhadi tells Rolling Stone. “I really believed his persona, and what [the band] have been all the time constantly, persistently singing and speaking about. I didn’t need to be the one to take that away from anybody else.”
But in mid-July, Sarhadi appeared on a podcast to accuse the 50-year-old of violent sexual assault. Although Sarhadi didn’t identify Geever straight, all particulars pointed to him. (Sarhadi confirmed to Rolling Stone that Geever was the topic of the allegation.) Hours later, Anti-Flag wiped its social media presence — together with band members’ private pages — and released a short statement. “Announcement,” learn the submit. “Anti-Flag has disbanded.”
Despite being in the course of a European tour, the group broke up instantly. Instead of acknowledging the accusation, although, the band provided no denial or additional rationalization. The assault declare contradicted every little thing Anti-Flag and Geever claimed to face for. Now, when confronted with their very own reckoning, there was solely silence.
Every week later, Geever categorically denied the allegation. “I’ve by no means engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual, nor have I ever been approached by a girl after a sexual encounter and been instructed I had in any manner acted with out her consent or violated her in any manner,” he wrote.
The different members — Patrick Bollinger, a.okay.a. Pat Thetic, Chris Head, and Chris Barker, a.okay.a. Chris No. 2 — launched a press release alongside Geever, saying they have been “shaken” and “heartbroken” by the accusation, including it has all the time been their “core tenet” to imagine survivors. “Therefore, we felt the one fast choice was to disband,” they wrote. “While we imagine that is extraordinarily critical, within the final 30 years we’ve by no means seen Justin be violent or aggressive towards ladies.”
Sarhadi’s declare, nonetheless, is echoed by an extra 12 ladies who spoke to Rolling Stone about their alleged encounters with Geever, going again to the Nineties and as not too long ago as 2020. These allegations embrace predatory habits, sexual assault, and statutory rape, together with sexual relations with a 12-year-old when Geever was a young person. (Geever didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark after Rolling Stone despatched him an in depth checklist of allegations for this text.)
“He was a wolf in sheep’s clothes,” says Jenn, who met Geever as a 16-year-old in 1997. (Rolling Stone is figuring out Jenn by her first identify.) “He got here throughout as tremendous supportive. He was like, ‘Yeah, we want extra women in punk rock,’ and ‘Get on the market!’ He performed the a part of lifting ladies up, however on the similar time, he was holding them down, actually.”
Sarhadi couldn’t imagine the night time she was having. A seemingly fated encounter with Geever had led the then-22-year-old to a glamorous movie pageant afterparty as Geever’s visitor, who was now introducing her to numerous film producers and music figures as his girlfriend. Hours later, she would need she by no means attended the social gathering.
The two had met a couple of days earlier when Sarhadi snagged tickets to the band’s present in Brooklyn. Geever locked eyes along with her from the stage, she says, and approached her after the present. While chatting, Geever talked about he’d be close to her hometown for the pageant, Sarhadi says, and the 2 exchanged numbers. The pair met up, however as an alternative of the dinner Geever had initially talked about, she says, he requested her to drive them to the social gathering.
Throughout the night time, Sarhadi says, she rebuffed Geever’s advances — together with him making an attempt to steer her to climb into the automotive’s again seat to have intercourse. Sarhadi says she was dropping Geever off at his resort when he requested her to go to his room to listen to a brand new music he recorded. Sarhadi claims Geever wished to make a pit cease on the resort bar, which was stunning as a result of each have been straight edge. But Geever allegedly instructed Sarhadi he was ingesting that night time as a result of he was going via a private concern together with his fiancée.
Sarhadi adopted swimsuit, and collectively they drank beers and took pictures earlier than heading upstairs, Sarhadi says, to hearken to the music. Once contained in the room, Sarhadi says, Geever locked the door and playfully tackled her on the mattress. “But as quickly as I hit the mattress, he put his hand round my throat and mainly became a monster,” she described on the Enough podcast. “To at the present time, I nonetheless have flashes of his face above me, holding me down.”
Geever proceeded to sexually assault her, Sarhadi claims. “It went on for a really very long time,” she added on the podcast. “It was probably the most terrifying factor I’ve ever skilled. I can’t stress how violent he was and the way a lot I absolutely believed I used to be going to die, that he was going to kill me.” (Rolling Stone spoke with a pal of Sarhadi who mentioned she had instructed them in regards to the alleged assault earlier this 12 months when discussing their dangerous experiences with males within the punk scene. Two of Sarhadi’s relations inform Rolling Stone they discovered in regards to the alleged assault a couple of weeks earlier than the podcast aired, as Sarhadi was making ready to return ahead.)
As Sarhadi’s story unfold following her podcast look, quite a few ladies started connecting with each other on-line about their very own alleged encounters with Geever. Like Sarhadi, most girls had been ardent followers of Anti-Flag, amassing posters, T-shirts, and CDs, and touring to a number of exhibits as usually as attainable.
“I didn’t say something for quite a lot of causes,” Molly Newborn says of her 1999 run-in with Geever, who allegedly tried to kiss the then-17-year-old when he was 26 and convey her again to his resort room after she mentioned she was a virgin. “But an enormous one would in all probability be: I don’t suppose individuals would imagine it, that this man is a creepo, as a result of he sings about feminism,” she says.
“I had no concept it occurred to anybody else,” Sarhadi provides. “I felt silly, embarrassed, and confused, as a result of how might it have occurred with this individual? He is the anti-rape singer. They are the outspoken feminist band who launched an album benefiting ladies victims of crime. It doesn’t make any sense. [But] even in nature, the worst predators have the perfect camouflage.”
Anti-Flag’s mission was clear from their 1996 debut album, Die for the Government. “We have been offended about Gulf War Syndrome, the place chemical weapons have been used and the federal government tried to cover the actual fact,” Geever mentioned in 2009. “It was an enormous ‘Fuck you’ for permitting harmless individuals to endure.”
The band started to take off with the discharge of its second album, A New Kind of Army, in 1999 and joined the Warped Tour — the behemoth summer season pageant that helped popularize the punk-revival scene — a 12 months later. Throughout the early and mid-2000s, Anti-Flag grew a large youthful fan base, with lots of the individuals who spoke for this text crediting the band in shaping their very own identities and beliefs in a time of post-9/11 political uncertainty. Even after the Warped Tour’s dissolution in 2019, the band continued to tour to sold-out exhibits within the U.S. and Europe.
“I felt silly, embarrassed, and confused, as a result of how might it have occurred with this individual? He is the anti-rape singer.”
Geever readily lived as much as the place of Anti-Flag’s frontman. He was participating and articulate in interviews, bouncing from Donald Trump to the evils of capitalism and his work as a board member of the nonprofit Punk Rock Saves Lives. With followers, he was approachable and beneficiant together with his time, taking pictures and doling out free merch. It didn’t damage that Geever’s boyish attractiveness adopted him previous his forties.
“[Anti-Flag] felt distinctive, a ‘fuck the patriarchy and fuck the system, burn all of it down’ type of factor,” early fan Rebecca, who’s being recognized by her first identify, explains. Geever was the “charismatic man onstage, sharing these ideas that have been so transferring,” she says. “He introduced as a protected person who had your again [and] was in your aspect.”
For Suzanne, who found Anti-Flag as a teen, and others, the band’s lyrics and politics have been a highway map in forming her personal beliefs. “Their concepts and progressive mind-set [were] so enlightening to me,” she says. “I actually regarded to that band and punk rock as who I wished to be.” (Rolling Stone is figuring out Suzanne by her center identify.)
So it appeared like a pinch-me second straight out of a rom-com, Sarhadi, Suzanne, and lots of others say, when Geever zeroed in on them from the stage and sought them out after a present to strike up an enthusiastic dialog. “It was like, ‘Holy shit,’ ” says Suzanne, who met Geever on the band’s spring 2002 present in Cleveland. “This is a band I idolize. How is he enthusiastic about me? I didn’t actually imagine it.”
The two started courting shortly after that first assembly, Suzanne says, with Geever allegedly taking a number of solo journeys to her Arizona hometown, professing his love for her and taking the 17-year-old’s virginity exterior of a automotive. (Rolling Stone has reviewed a photograph of Suzanne and Geever alongside letters Suzanne says he despatched her. Suzanne’s shut pal from highschool tells Rolling Stone she met Geever a number of occasions whereas he was courting Suzanne.) To her mom, Suzanne says, there have been no apparent pink flags — Geever claimed that he was 19. He was truly 30.
“It makes me sick,” Suzanne says. “I believe that I used to be groomed. He took benefit of his standing and me being younger.”
Geever’s alleged predatory habits was a direct contradiction to what he was proclaiming publicly, even going out of his strategy to condemn others within the scene. In 2017, he backed a protester who went up in opposition to the Dickies frontman Leonard Graves Phillips with an indication that learn, “Teen women deserve respect, not gross jokes from disgusting outdated males! Punk shouldn’t be predatory.” “I do occur to share their viewpoint,” he instructed the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “My viewpoint is that sexualizing ladies and calling them the c-word is just not one thing that must be tolerated.”
Five months later, Geever was allegedly sending a stream of sexual messages to French faculty scholar Mat, who tells Rolling Stone that she had approached him for assistance on a paper about feminism and the place of girls in punk-rock music. (Mat is being recognized by a variation of her first identify.)
Given how vocal Geever was about championing ladies, Mat — a fan of the band — hoped to interview him for the mission. While Geever mentioned he couldn’t assist — citing a busy tour schedule — Mat was pleasantly shocked when he continued to message her about their pursuits and his household well being struggles. The two quickly developed an intimate friendship.
Within two months, Mat says, Geever started implying they might begin a life collectively within the United States. Thoughtful conversations about their days and pursuits gave strategy to Geever repeatedly making sexual requests. “I bear in mind sooner or later I talked to him about some issues in my household that have been vital to me at that second,” Mat says. “He simply mentioned, ‘Oh, OK, I’m sorry for you. I’m sexy, are you able to name?’ ”
They lastly met in individual when Geever was touring Europe with Anti-Flag in June 2018. After driving to Luxembourg along with her mother and father, Mat says, Geever took her again to his resort and later that night time initiated intercourse, which Mat describes as tough. “I used to be identical to a statue,” she says, including that he choked and spat on her with out consent. “I had the sensation that he was having intercourse alone with me.”
The subsequent morning, Mat says, as an alternative of spending high quality time collectively at breakfast, Geever was extra involved about speeding again to the resort to have intercourse once more earlier than she needed to depart. (That morning, Mat says, Geever admitted he had a girlfriend, however downplayed the seriousness of the connection.) Afterward, Geever allegedly insisted that she bathe, and mentioned the following time she shouldn’t come along with her mother and father. Days later, regardless of Geever saying he believed there was a future between them, Mat says Geever abruptly minimize issues off. “I spent months considering I used to be silly, I wasn’t sufficient, or I used to be dangerous in mattress,” Mat says. “I felt like an object.”
Mat and Suzanne are two of 13 ladies Rolling Stone spoke with who declare Geever exploited the ability he wielded with youthful, enamored women and girls for his personal sexual gratification, with a number of saying they have been disturbed to acknowledge their very own experiences mirrored in Sarhadi’s account. Seven of the ladies have been youngsters on the time of their encounters. An eighth was 12 years outdated.
Susie, who’s utilizing a variation of her delivery identify, claims she was 15 when Geever — then 35 — took her virginity when the band was enjoying in Germany in August 2008, following the discharge of their seventh album, The Bright Lights of America. The two had met at one other European Anti-Flag gig, and Susie claims Geever acknowledged and greeted her when she turned as much as the German present. He allegedly took her to a shed on the live performance grounds, the place that they had intercourse. “He instructed me to not inform anybody afterwards,” Susie claims. (A pal who was on the present confirmed to Rolling Stone that Geever and Susie have been alone for a while that day, acknowledging she knew “one thing” had occurred between the pair.)
Three years later, Susie says, she obtained an electronic mail from Geever, who she sporadically saved in contact with. In the July 2011 electronic mail, reviewed by Rolling Stone, Geever mentions he’s enjoying on the similar venue in Germany once more, and the way he was reminded of Susie and the “little shack the place we spent a while collectively.” “That night time was very memorable,” the e-mail reads. “I do know that it will need to have been lots so that you can deal with — I hope that wanting again it’s an excellent and never a nasty reminiscence for you.”
Another girl, Stefanie, says she felt Geever was interested in her being an inexperienced 21-year-old after they started a sexual relationship in 2012. (Rolling Stone is figuring out Stefanie by her center identify.) He was charming and repeatedly professed his sturdy emotions for her, Stefanie says, which she now feels was a type of manipulation to get her to conform or be open to extra excessive sexual acts. “He mentioned, ‘I’m so dominant in mattress, however so candy in any other case,’ ” Stefanie claims, including that Geever pressured her to name him “grasp” whereas she was the “slave.” In one occasion, she claims, Geever’s temper shifted and he put his fingers round her throat. Stefanie says she grew to become frightened and started to cry, to which Geever stopped and apologized to her. (A pal of Stefanie’s who was conscious of their relationship tells Rolling Stone that Stefanie instructed her in regards to the incident quickly after it occurred.)
“We by no means talked about BDSM stuff,” Stefanie says. “We by no means talked about that type of dominance. He as soon as texted me one thing [about domination fantasies], and I instructed him that I didn’t prefer it.”
Karina and Rebecca, who each dated Geever after they have been youngsters, say they may relate to Sarhadi’s description of Geever’s attentiveness and kindness vanishing when the encounter turned sexual. “I used to be one amongst many made to really feel particular, manipulated, pressured, after which simply thrown to the aspect of the highway,” says Karina, who’s utilizing a pseudonym and described herself as sexually inexperienced when she started courting Geever at age 16, proper as Anti-Flag was taking off. (Geever was 23 on the time.) She developed an consuming dysfunction and blamed herself for not with the ability to maintain Geever’s consideration, she says, after he had satisfied her it was OK for him to have intercourse with different ladies. When they have been collectively, Karina says, her sexual encounters with Geever would “bodily escalate” with no dialogue or regard for her consolation.
“Later I discovered, that’s not the best way it must be,” Karina says. “That’s not a strategy to present love.”
“It makes me sick. It was like, ‘Holy shit.’ This is a band I idolize. How is he enthusiastic about me? I didn’t actually imagine it. I believe that I used to be groomed. He took benefit of his standing and me being younger.”
Three ladies say their encounters with Geever escalated from predatory circumstances to violent assault. Ella, who’s utilizing a variation of her center identify, claims Geever made sexual advances on her as a teen. The two met when she was 16, on the Warped Tour in Maryland, in the summertime of 2009. Mingling among the many grounds, Ella says, she bumped into Geever — then 36 — who allegedly requested her age earlier than saying he was “considering of doing one thing dumb” and asking for her cellphone quantity.
Hours later, they met up after Geever messaged her, she says, with Geever allegedly taking her right into a wooded space off-site. Ella claims Geever started kissing her and carried out a intercourse act on her. “He undoubtedly wished to go additional,” she says. “But I used to be like, ‘I’ve to depart, my mother is coming to select me up.’ ” Ella claims that upon going their separate methods, Geever instructed her to not say something.
The two often saved in touch. Four years later, following a 2013 Anti-Flag present in Baltimore, Ella says, she and Geever had intercourse. She describes the encounter as consensual, however says Geever repeatedly requested if she was a virgin.
Geever inspired Ella to comply with the band to its subsequent present, in Pittsburgh, she says. (Rolling Stone reviewed a Facebook standing Ella posted about driving as much as Pittsburgh within the fall of 2013.) “I knew that we have been going to have intercourse,” Ella says. “But I used to be nonetheless very younger; I used to be not very sexually skilled.… He saved asking me if I used to be a virgin, after which sure my wrists and gagged me.” Ella claims she explicitly instructed Geever to not carry out sure intercourse acts, however he ignored her.
“I used to be in ache by the top of it,” she says. “As extra time has gone on and I’ve been with different individuals and had extra experiences, you notice, ‘OK, maintain on, that was a tough boundary for me that he ignored.’ I check with all of it as ‘that man who assaulted me.’ ” (A detailed pal of Ella’s confirmed that Ella instructed her in regards to the alleged assault a couple of weeks after it occurred. Rolling Stone additionally reviewed a tweet Ella posted final August alluding to Geever and the alleged assault.)
Elizabeth met Geever throughout the Warped Tour in 2007, when she was 18 and the band was coming off its largest launch but with For Blood and Empire, following its signing with RCA. (Rolling Stone is figuring out Elizabeth by her center identify.) At a present two years later, Geever pulled her and one other fan from the group onstage. The two made plans for Elizabeth, a hairdresser, to attend the following present to chop Geever’s hair. As Elizabeth watched the following gig from backstage, Geever gave her a shout-out. “I’ve been wanting as much as this band for therefore lengthy,” Elizabeth says. “When I turned 18, my first tattoo was an Anti-Flag tattoo.… [The shout-out] was an enormous deal. It felt truthfully indescribable.” (Rolling Stone reviewed pictures of Elizabeth with Geever on the exhibits.)
After spending time on the tour bus with the remainder of the band, Elizabeth says, Geever took her on a stroll, the place he pulled her right into a secluded space exterior a constructing, started kissing her, and caught his fingers down her pants. “I used to be feeling so torn as a result of I used to be scared [and] I used to be very younger,” she says. But she was additionally elated. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, that is unreal. He likes me and he desires to this point me.’ ”
For the following few months, Elizabeth remained in frequent contact with Geever as he was on tour in Europe. Sometimes Geever despatched her candy messages, she says. Other occasions, she claims, he would ship unsolicited nude photographs and name her unprompted whereas masturbating. “It jumped throughout,” she says. “When he would name me, it was by no means to have a dialog. As quickly as I picked up, he was panting and telling me what he was doing to himself.”
“I used to be getting creeped out,” she provides. “I wouldn’t even say something on the cellphone more often than not. I didn’t even know what to say — I had by no means been in that type of cellphone name with anyone ever in my life.”
The two finally fell out of contact till 2011, when Elizabeth was visiting Pittsburgh and reached out to Geever, who invited her to a recording studio, she says. Elizabeth says Geever nearly instantly tried to place his fingers down her pants, started forcibly kissing her, and made her carry out oral intercourse on him. “He simply appeared like he was mad, and a unique individual,” she remembers. Afterward, Elizabeth says she shortly left. “I simply wished to get out of there,” she says. “But on the similar time, I used to be like, ‘OK, possibly his needs are somewhat bit extra tough.’ I used to be not sure if that was him or if it was simply his preferences.”
The subsequent day, the 2 have been imagined to go for lunch, however Geever requested Elizabeth to fulfill him at a resort, the place Elizabeth says he assaulted her. “He first put a spreader bar on me, which I had by no means seen in my life at that time,” she says. “At one other level, he flipped me over with the spreader bar and hogtied me — which once more, I had by no means even been restrained. It was very scary as a result of it wasn’t something that he requested. None of that mattered.”
In the center of the alleged assault, Elizabeth says Geever took a private cellphone name. “From the sounds of it, it was, like, a dental go to, and he simply left me there like that,” she says. “I’m facedown into the pillow sobbing and he left me like that.”
Afterward, Elizabeth says Geever appeared cheery and wished to get lunch, describing herself as feeling rattled by the emotional whiplash. Moments earlier than, she was restrained and her cries of ache have been ignored. Now, she was anticipated to calmly eat lunch in public throughout from the one who she says appeared unfazed by her apparent discomfort. “With mascara throughout my face, I ran out of there,” she says. (Two mates recall Elizabeth telling them in regards to the encounter quickly after they met, when she moved to her present metropolis. One says she was instructed round 2018 throughout a dialog in regards to the Warped Tour. The second says Elizabeth instructed her roughly two to 4 years in the past, when Anti-Flag got here up in a dialog about music.)
“It is vital for everybody to know … that you’re a monster. My father had 15 T-shirts of Anti-Flag. He simply put every little thing within the trash.”
A 3rd girl, Hannah Stark, filed a police report in opposition to Geever in August on accusations of sexual assault stemming from an early 2020 encounter within the United Kingdom. Her story, which Rolling Stone has corroborated via reviewing pictures of accidents, her messages with Geever, and conversations in regards to the assault with mates, mirrors the violent expertise of Sarhadi’s.
Stark claims Geever all of the sudden handcuffed her, spanked her, and compelled her to carry out oral intercourse, as he used degrading language towards her. She says she tried to bodily get away from Geever at one level, however couldn’t. “I couldn’t breathe, after which he finally stopped,” she says. “When I regarded up at him, he simply had this look of satisfaction on his face. It was horrible.” At no level did Geever test that she was OK or ask for consent to the acts, Stark says, describing herself as “scared.” Stark acknowledges she didn’t explicitly say no to Geever, as a result of she feared it “would make issues worse.” “To be trustworthy, I assumed he would love that,” she says.
Police within the U.Okay. confirmed to Rolling Stone they obtained a “report of a critical sexual assault” associated to Stark’s allegation. Although Stark says she supplied police with a witness checklist and provided 300-plus gadgets of documentation, she says the police not too long ago knowledgeable her that they have been declining to maneuver ahead as a result of she by no means instructed Geever “no.”
In the 2 years for the reason that alleged assault, Stark says she scoured the web with a sinking feeling. “Something in me was like, ‘There’s no manner that I’m the one individual he has completed this to,’ ” she says. Finding nothing, Stark determined to anonymously submit on the Tumblr web page “The Industry Ain’t Safe” one night time in March 2022. “Justin Sane from Anti-Flag,” she wrote. “Am I actually the one individual this has occurred to?”
The Tumblr submit grew to become a beacon for different ladies, who had searched on-line for years for different allegations to no avail. “I saved my eyes open,” Suzanne says, recalling how she stumbled upon the submit final 12 months. “My abdomen dropped. I ought to have responded then and never have left her feeling like the one one.… [Not responding] would eat me alive.”
It ended up additionally being the catalyst for Sarhadi to return ahead. Seeing no responses, Sarhadi replied that one thing had occurred along with her too. “Once I noticed [the post], it was simply no query,” Sarhadi explains. “If I hadn’t seen that, I don’t know. I might have gone forwards and backwards on this for an additional 10 years.”
Soon after the podcast aired, 44-year-old Pittsburgh native Tali Weller says she obtained an surprising message in regards to the episode from a childhood pal, who wished to test that she was doing OK.
It had been greater than three a long time since a 12-year-old Weller had met a 17-year-old Geever via their native church youth group in 1990. “I’ve this reminiscence in his automotive of my first kiss with him,” Weller says. “I used to be so blinded by belief for him and infatuation, he had me bought to comply with his lead.”
Their encounters, which Weller says Geever had instructed her to maintain a secret, have been cut up between pleasant, chaste exchanges in public and sexual exercise in closets, the lofted rehearsal area at his household house, and sleeping baggage on in a single day church journeys. “I do not forget that I didn’t really feel snug having intercourse,” she says. “His reply was anal intercourse.”
Weller says their sexual encounters lasted for a 12 months and a half, till she was 13. (Rolling Stone has spoken to 2 relations who affirm Weller instructed them in regards to the nature of her relationship with Geever throughout the previous 10 years. Rolling Stone additionally reviewed the message Weller’s pal despatched, alerting her to the podcast.)
“I’m nonetheless unpacking my sexuality and what was affected by him by this relationship,” Weller explains. “I do not forget that he instructed me to moan to point out him ‘that I used to be having fun with it.’ It’s so uncomfortable even to speak about now [and how that has shaped] my sexual life nonetheless.”
Speaking to the ladies who declare to have been abused by Geever, many describe feeling remoted of their experiences and making an attempt to reconcile his public persona together with his personal actions. Each felt they might be the one one. “He comes off as such a form, loving, supportive, good individual,” Elizabeth says. “It’s like Jekyll and Hyde.”
Many of the ladies who spoke for this text expressed disappointment — if not outright fury — at Geever’s assertion. “He made me actually offended once I learn it,” Stefanie says. “Especially for somebody who preaches [what he does]. He’s carrying his feminism shirts after which placing out a press release like that. It’s simply type of insulting to everybody.”
“There’s one thing in all this that’s so liberating to know I’m not alone.”
Geever’s declare that nobody had ever knowledgeable him his habits was violating is a flat-out lie, Mat and Karina allege. Karina claims she confronted Geever in 1999, alleging that he took benefit of her inexperience via manipulation and strain, and the lasting injury it prompted. Geever allegedly “demonstrated sympathy,” she says, and made it “look like he wished to do higher.” Mat says that after listening to Sarhadi on the podcast, she despatched Geever an extended message, which Rolling Stone reviewed, detailing how utilizing her for intercourse and simply discarding her had left her questioning her self-worth. He by no means responded. Two days later, he posted his assertion.
The ladies, alongside a few of the band’s followers, additionally chastised the opposite band members for failing to take a right away arduous stance in opposition to Geever publicly and even acknowledge the blind eye they could have turned, as three ladies declare a few of the members have been current when Geever introduced them on tour, backstage, or on the tour bus as youngsters and younger ladies. “They knew how younger all people was,” Rebecca, who dated a then-25-year-old Geever as a 17-year-old within the late Nineties, claims. “There was a transparent boundary that he saved crossing time and again that ought to have raised flags for everyone.”
In a joint assertion to Rolling Stone, the opposite Anti-Flag members say their belief has “wholly been damaged” and are “disturbed by the efforts taken to hide info from us.” “We trusted everybody related to the band to take care of a protected and respectful setting,” they add. “The understanding that abusers could be anyplace additional reinforces the significance of survivors talking out and sharing their tales.… Further, we really feel strongly that each one predators should atone for his or her inappropriate actions and be held accountable.”
The accusations and blatant contradiction of Anti-Flag’s core tenets — proceeds from the compilation album that includes “Feminism Is for Everybody” went to Protect, a nonprofit aimed toward combating baby abuse and exploitation — have already prompted a number of bands to stroll away from Anti-Flag’s label, A-F Records. Artist Sammy Kay, who signed to the label earlier this 12 months, felt the allegation and the band’s lack of transparency left him no alternative however to depart. How might he keep “if what they’re preaching onstage and spreading to the world doesn’t align with what [their] daily is,” Kay says. (The band confirmed to Rolling Stone that they’re “within the means of unwinding the label, together with returning grasp rights and bodily data/merchandise to the bands, which can take a while to finish correctly.”)
Multiple accusers inform Rolling Stone that there’s no single path ahead for accountability and rectifying the injury they are saying Geever has prompted over time. Disbanding isn’t sufficient, Mat says. Neither is Geever and the band’s assertion. “It is vital that everybody is aware of the reality,” she says. “For everybody to know that you’re a monster. My father had 15 T-shirts of Anti-Flag. When we talked, I instructed him, ‘I don’t need to see you put on one thing by them.’ He simply put every little thing within the trash. I need everybody to behave that manner.”
Some imagine Geever ought to face the criminal-justice system. Stark says regardless of police not transferring ahead along with her case, she remains to be glad she filed the report. “It wasn’t for nothing,” Stark says. “My assertion stays within the [police] system ceaselessly due to the character of the accusation. So if one other individual from the U.Okay. did ever come ahead, my assertion is there for corroboration.”
Others are centered on therapeutic and bringing extra consciousness to the broader punk group about energy imbalances and the way alleged abusers can thrive in plain sight. “Nobody desires this example the place individuals are getting out the pitchforks,” Karina says. “What they need is therapeutic and to really feel like someone is being accountable, and somebody can maintain our ache.”
Many urge Geever to hunt assist. “The compassionate a part of me acknowledges that there’s some illness or some trauma,” Weller says. “I prefer to suppose that we’re wanting ahead to a time when Justin no less than is just not going to harm different individuals in the identical methods and at finest goes to get the assistance he must finally come to peace with himself.”
The one glimmer of hope all through has been the outpouring of help the ladies have described receiving from the punk-rock scene. It’s been reaffirming that the household and group they craved and sought out have been nonetheless there for them, regardless of the alleged actions of a musician whose band they fashioned round.
Weller says that after listening to Sarhadi’s podcast, she processed her shock with a counselor. “When I used to be completed spitting out phrases, my counselor had this actually nice smile and was like, ‘Your life simply began,’ in such a realizing manner,” Weller says. “I really feel like that’s true. There’s one thing in all this that’s so liberating to know I’m not alone.”
Speaking with others has been therapeutic for the ladies, together with Sarhadi, who has launched ThePunkRockTherapist.org, a spot the place Geever’s accusers and different survivors throughout the music business can join and obtain free remedy classes.
In April, Geever himself inspired individuals to open up about connecting with others going via a traumatic occasion. “When you place out to individuals that you simply’ve gone via one thing horrible, what you discover is [that] you aren’t alone,” he mentioned. “There’s so many different individuals who’ve gone via one thing related. When you begin to join with them and discuss with them, that’s when the therapeutic can truly start.”
The irony is just not misplaced on Sarhadi. “[It’s] one other good instance of him saying the precise factor and it being a complete rip-off,” she says. “Maybe we have been impressed initially by somebody with a microphone. But we’re those doing the work every single day. We know we’ve one another’s again.”