Bassnectar Sued for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors, Child Pornography, Human Trafficking

Bassnectar has been sued by two women who claim the EDM star sexually abused them when they were minors

The lawsuit was filed Monday, April 5th, on behalf of Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling. It also accuses the producer-DJ, whose real name is Lorin Ashton, of engaging in human trafficking and manufacturing and possessing child pornography. The suit names several other entities affiliated with Ashton (Amorphous Music, Bassnectar Touring, Redlight Management, C3 Presents, and Interactive Giving Fund) as co-defendants also accused of human trafficking.

The lawsuit, obtained by Rolling Stone, claims Ashton “solicited underage girls through various means,” including through Twitter, fan clubs, and charitable initiatives like the BeInteractive amBASSadors program. The suit appears to be prompted, in part, by an Instagram account that launched last June, @EvidenceAgainstBassnectar, where numerous women accused Ashton of sexual abuse.

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In a press release issued Monday, one of the lawyers for the two accusers, Brian Kent, said: “We have seen a true reckoning in recent years of powerful individuals and institutions finally being held to account for years of sexual abuse against adults and minors. But we have only begun to scratch the surface of how these influential figures and entities can go on for years committing abuses without being held responsible. This lawsuit is about seeking justice not just against Bassnectar but against the corporations that cooperate in and help facilitate the abuses he is alleged to have committed.”

Mitchell Schuster, an attorney for Ashton, said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “These outrageous claims — which were clearly designed for the media, rather than for the courts — are completely without merit, and we eagerly look forward to proving so.” (Representatives for the other defendants named in the suit did not immediately return a request for comment.)

The suit accuses Ashton of “ingratiating himself” into the lives of underage girls, offering them tickets to his shows, and connecting them to fellow fans while pushing a “culture premised on ideals such as community and collectivism.” It claims Ashton exerted a heavy influence over his victims’ lives, that he would have sex with them without using protection, and “would provide large sums of cash and other items of value in exchange.” The suit also alleges that Ashton’s actions were clear to those around him, and there was “a running joke among those associated with Bassnectar that he would have to find a date at a high school dance.”

The two accusers in the lawsuit, Ramsbottom and Bowling, say they met Ashton after he reached out to them via private message on Twitter. Ramsbottom says she first made contact with Ashton in 2012 when she was still in high school and under 18. The suit claims he presented himself as “a friend and a mentor,” offering advice and even reading some of Ramsbottom’s school assignments; but his messages also allegedly had “sexual undertones,” with Ashton asking Ramsbottom what she would do if they met, demanding she break up with her boyfriend at the time, making suggestive remarks about her last name, and having her engage in phone sex with him.

Ramsbottom says she met Ashton in person in May 2013 at a hotel in Memphis, where he allegedly had sex with her, refused to wear a condom, and gave her $1,000 in mixed bills afterward. A few weeks later in Nashville, Ashton invited Ramsbottom to stay with him at another hotel, where she claims he kept her for about four days, ordering her to hide when room service arrived and growing angry when Ramsbottom answered the phone. Ashton also “solicited [Ramsbottom] to take and send sexually explicit photographs of herself while naked,” per the suit, which Ramsbottom says she did.

Ramsbottom and Ashton allegedly last saw each other in November 2013, although Ashton supposedly contacted her after the #MeToo movement began in 2017. In 2020, after the @EvidenceAgainstBassnectar Instagram account launched, Ashton allegedly reached out again and continued to do so even after Ramsbottom blocked his number.

Finally, Ramsbottom — who said she’s been in therapy “as a result of what Bassnectar did to her,” according to the suit — agreed to speak with Ashton over the phone. During the conversation, Ashton allegedly admitted that what he’d done was “so inappropriate” and “completely wrong.” But he also reportedly claimed that while he wanted to “take accountability,” it was Ramsbottom’s fault he couldn’t: “I could be doing so much more if it wasn’t for one person who could push a button and put me in fucking jail,” he said, according to the suit.

Ashton allegedly mentioned the threat of jail several more times during the call, while the suit claims he offered Ramsbottom “money and other benefits in an attempt to coerce her into remaining silent.”

In the allegations put forth by Bowling, she first met Ashton in April 2014 when he offered her tickets to a show in Las Vegas, which she drove to from her home in Kentucky but was unable to attend because she was under 18 and not allowed in the venue. Ashton allegedly told Bowling to meet her at his hotel nearby, at which point she claims he “took her into the bushes and hid for approximately six hours, kissing and touching [Bowling],” per the suit.

During two ensuing trips to Kentucky, Bowling allegedly met Ashton at his hotel where they would have sex. Similar to Ramsbottom’s allegations, Bowling says Ashton presented himself as a mentor to her after her father died, although she claims he solicited Bowling to take and send sexually explicit photographs while naked. Between 2014 and 2016, Ashton “paid for and flew [Bowling] all over the country to see him while he was on tour,” according to the suit, and would have sex with her during these visits. Bowling says her last visit with Ashton was at his California home in October 2016.

Last June, Bowling says Ashton contacted her about allegations that had been leveled against a music teacher at his high school who’d supposedly had sexual contact with a minor; Ashton tried to convince Bowling that “what happened between them was nothing like that,” according to the suit. Not long after, Bowling was also contacted by the head of Ashton’s charitable organization “in an attempt to further manipulate and silence [Bowling] from speaking out about what Bassnectar did to her as a minor,” per the suit.

Ramsbottom and Bowling’s lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and damages “in an amount which will effectively prevent other similarly caused acts and adequately reflect the enormity of the Defendants’ wrong and injuries to the Plaintiffs.”

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