Members of the bands Gloryhammer and Alestorm have been accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior toward female fans, and the release of a group chat has shed light on these allegations. As a result, many people began to wonder who exactly they were supporting after seeing the racist way in which these fans were treated.
A Twitter user responded to the tweet dismissing Winkler by sharing what appears to be a screenshot of an ex-purported girlfriend’s message accusing James “Hootsman” Cartwright of emotional abuse (the post has since been deleted, but an archived version still exists).
Winkler released a statement later that expressed shock and dismay at his dismissal. Gloryhammer issued a second statement, cryptically explaining that they will not discuss the specifics of Winkler’s dismissal out of respect for him.
A brand-new Twitter account published screenshots of a secret Facebook conversation between Gloryhammer members on August 23. Chris Bowes (founder of both Gloryhammer and Alestorm), James “Hootsman” Cartwright (bassist), and Michael Barber (keyboardist) addressed their and Alestorm’s efforts to have sex with as many of their fans as possible in this chat (which has now been dated back to August 2017).
Chris Bowes referred to the black fans they had sex with as “niggers” and “coons”; the other members of the band used similarly derogatory terms.
The band requested more time on August 25 to respond to the charges so that they wouldn’t be “distracted from what we need to do” (though what exactly remained unclear).
Both Chris Bowes and Gloryhammer released statements on September 3 apologizing for the “pain, sorrow, and fury” they had caused by leaking the private chats and confirming their validity. In addition, Gloryhammer stated that they strongly refute any allegations of mistreatment leveled against any of the band’s members.
A Twitter user’s revelation of private communications between two people quickly sparked widespread speculation among followers regarding the identity of the leaker. The finger of suspicion was swiftly pointed at Winkler, who would have leaked the information in vengeance for his dismissal.
Some have speculated that drummer Ben Turk was responsible for the leak, a charge that he has strongly refuted, both on Twitter and on a Reddit account that she has since removed. There, she made the allegation that Turk’s ex-girlfriend had leaked the talks in order to get back at him and the band after being hurt by the publicity surrounding Winkler’s dismissal (Ben Turk declined to comment on this story).
It is unknown if the same person would have publicized the allegations against James “Hootsman” Cartwright, but those who are close to the original accuser (who made the allegations in early 2021) say she had nothing to do with bringing them back up and is unhappy about the attention they are receiving.
There’s a good chance that the images were released by someone unaffiliated with the band. Some of the individuals’ current Facebook profile pictures match those they used some years ago, and the screenshots depict an older version of the Android operating system. This indicates that the screenshots were saved for a specific purpose, most likely as a weapon.
In light of Bowes’s admission that the conversations actually took place in his apologies, the origin of the discussions is mostly irrelevant. The logs depict a picture of a very predatory and misogynistic view of women on the part of (at least some) members of these bands, and this is true even if the leak was made by a spiteful ex-partner.
Keep in mind that Alestorm and Gloryhammer have very youthful fan bases, so even at the most charitable interpretation, we have men in their thirties trying to see how many barely-legal minors they can bed while on tour, all while showing zero signs of respect or concern for the woman in question.
Even if the conduct is legal, there is something profoundly unethical about performers initiating sexual contact with fans in this way. Would this be the first time such a focus has been placed on female fans? No, that sort of conduct is actually part of the brand that Motley Crue and other bands have developed.
However, this does not excuse the harmful view of sex in which women are only objects to be traded amongst the male cast members backstage. Even while I’m sure there are people whose wildest fantasies involve sexually preying on children as young as 18, we shouldn’t let this opportunity to condemn such misogyny pass us by.
Bowes has taken great care to shield Alestorm, his more successful band, from the calamity. Despite the chats showing that at least one member of Alestorm would have been involved in the behavior described there, he only posted his pathetic (and uncharacteristically literate) apology on the Gloryhammer Facebook page (after first posting a pitiful handwritten version on his personal Instagram).
After complaining about black people’s sexual suitability, Bowes said that Elliot Vernon (the keyboard player in Alestorm) “pumped a coon on warped tour, just to mark it off the list” (Elliot Vernon did not respond to repeated requests for comment). The fact that this “apology” seems to be directed at Gloryhammer raises doubts about its authenticity, especially given the lack of information about who else was involved in the hacked communications.
Some of the fan analysis has been tainted by an unhealthy preoccupation with the words used by Bowes and his merry band of misogynists. The story shifted when Bowes said, “I’m sorry for these comments,” and many others tried to brush it off as “locker room chat” or some such nonsense.
This justification (which reveals a lot about its user) presumes that men can only connect with one another by making derogatory comments about women and that they all know deep down that it’s all in good fun.
And yes, sometimes people bond through poor humor and say things they don’t intend, but that doesn’t mean you can automatically forgive every nasty thing somebody says they did as “it was only a joke.” The logs don’t indicate that the subjects are making jokes about harming women; rather, they appear to depict individuals who make flippant remarks about the actions they actually take.
This is the root of the issue, and it’s crucial that the parties involved not be let off the hook for any wrongdoing by merely offering an apology for any “words” they may have used. They have proven that they do not care about the feelings of their followers and are a threat to women.
James “Hootsman” Cartwright suggested in the leaked chatlogs that the band members should not date their fans, but rather “boink” them because otherwise their identity as “a bunch of total cunts” would be exposed.
At least we have an explanation now.