Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Deceit and disgrace

What a difference a day makes.

On Monday, it seemed as though Kasabian, in announcing Tom Meighan's departure from the band, had hung him out to dry: "Tom has struggled with personal issues that have affected his behaviour for quite some time." Fast forward less than 24 hours, when the news broke that Meighan had been found guilty of a "sustained assault" on his ex-fiancee Vikky Ager in the presence of a child, and the exact opposite looked to be true - that the band were trying to protect their former singer by implying he had substance abuse or mental health issues in a way that elicited an outpouring of sympathy and support for him.

In a badly worded follow-up statement ("There is absolutely no way we can condone his assault conviction" - er, you might want to drop the word "conviction" there, lads...), the band have since claimed that their hands were tied by legal restrictions and blamed Meighan for not admitting to the reality of the situation in his own statement on the split.

Nevertheless, that initial tweet still looks like a cynical attempt to limit reputational damage and control the narrative. Among those duped by the message were fans, fellow musicians and the NME, who reacted by published an absurdly glowing article that described Meighan as "charming, upbeat, amenable, welcoming" and "riveting and utterly relatable", stated "We're rooting for you" and concluded with a list of sources of mental health support. Needless to say, the piece was subsequently pulled by the no doubt horrified editor and swiftly replaced with a straight news item.

Despite the incident occurring on 9th April, Meighan was still effectively on promotional duty on behalf of the band in late June, talking to Sky News about plans for Primark Scream's seventh album, insisting that the band were "still solid" and (perhaps most appallingly) declaring "My lockdown's been pretty amazing, actually". What's more, as the Guardian's Michael Hann revealed, only last week Meighan was still apparently intent on "a last little cash grab" by advertising "video meet and greets for £45".

I could go on - about the connection between coked-up ladrock and toxic masculinity, about how Meighan and the band have perversely assumed victim status, about the way Meighan escaped with just community service for committing domestic abuse - but I'll leave it there. Fuck the lot of them, quite frankly.

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