All Time Low have filed a libel lawsuit in an effort to combat the anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct made against guitarist Jack Barakat last year.
According to the nine-page filing obtained by Rolling Stone, the pop punk quartet is seeking to learn the identities of the people behind three anonymous social media accounts that initially came forward in October with the accusations, which the bandmates have already labeled “absolutely and unequivocally false.”
However, the posts quickly went viral on social media, with the first Jane Doe in the complaint coming forward in a now-deleted TikTok to infer that the band had invited her onto their tour bus when she was 13, offered her alcohol, and asked if they could keep her bra for their “nasty collection.”
According to the complaint, a friend of the fan in question came forward shortly thereafter to discredit the accusation. She claimed the encounter “never happened” and the original poster allegedly admitted her post was made with the intent to “be petty towards a peer” and made her video private.
A few weeks later, a second accuser under the Twitter handle @ATLstatement alleged that Barakat had sexually abused her when she was just 15 years old (he was 22 at the time), and maintained an inappropriate relationship for years afterward as she followed the band on tour. Since then, their Twitter account has been suspended.
Another Twitter user with the handle @dietsodasage later claimed to have counted 97 allegations against the band. Their account has since been deactivated, but the lawsuit includes a screenshot of a tweet reading, “I feel kind of weird about how people took my tweet about the atl situation :/ I didn’t mean for things to go like that so I’m probably going to stay priv for a few days.”
That didn’t stop the allegations from making the rounds on social media or having an impact on the band’s touring plans, as openers Meet Me @ The Altar and Nothing, Nowhere each pulled out mid-tour on the band’s headlining trek last fall.
The complaint states that All Time Low has been left with “no choice but to mobilize and utilize the civil court system to identify the culprits, prove that the defamatory statements are false, and seek justice. The purpose of the lawsuit is to establish the unambiguous truth and quash these malicious lies so that they won’t be repeated in the future.”
Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of all four members of the group, projecting a united front in support of Barakat and simultaneously opening the other three members — frontman Alex Gaskarth, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson — up to the legal discovery process.
The foursome are also seeking damages both real and punitive with the lawsuit, maintaining in the court documents that, “Not only have the reputations of the band and its members been unfairly tarnished, but the band has also lost business opportunities and suffered cancellation of scheduled events.”
If their case ends in a legal victory, All Time Low said they plan to donate proceeds from the lawsuit to various charities that support sexual abuse victims.
Consequence has reached out to All Time Low’s representatives for comment.