David Ellefson's longtime business partner Thom Hazaert has announced his retirement from the music business.
Hazaert broke the news of his decision to walk away from the music industry in a Facebook post on Sunday (June 13). He wrote: "For the last 30 years, I have toiled away in the music business (and life) being a person who did everything for everyone else, at the expense of myself — my finances, my happiness, my self-respect. I scraped, I barely made money, I suffered. I put everything I had into something to get nothing. Started over from scratch COUNTLESS times, only to be fucked again by someone or something else, right as the hard work started paying off (while they ran off to tell everyone how I fucked them.) I pushed myself to the point where I LITERALLY died. And maybe it’s just the nature of the thankless job, but most of the stories of that experience end with being betrayed by the very people I put everything into helping, while they ran off with everything I created, or destroyed it. And somehow, I always end up the bad guy. That goes for personal, and business relationships (which in this business are essentially one and the same).
"I know hundreds, if not thousands of people who could or maybe would say that I have done something huge for them, something that put them closer to their dreams. For every 100 of those, there's a few who would rather skew the perspective of everything I did for them, and twist distortions, or flat out lies or delusions, to say the opposite, and make me out to be some kind of monster.
"Nope, I'm not perfect. But in the immortal words of Tony Montana, 'I ain't never fucked nobody that didn't have it coming.' I am honest to a fucking FAULT, and know my weaknesses, and have always avoided them. I am kind, sane, reasonable, professional, and level-headed. I would give anyone the shirt off my back, and go out of my way to try and help EVERYONE, and put as much good into the World as I can. But as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.
"Now I'm at a point I can barely move or function half the time, have crippling anxiety, and no motivation to do anything, frankly not only because of my health, and the mountain of medications I am on to stay alive, but because any ounce of motivation or excitement, hope or joy has been sucked out of my life, and this business, which, at its worst, is a constant exercise in deflecting and/or maintaining relationships with (and placating) crazy, entitled, toxic, and/or delusional people.
"We live in a nearly apocalyptic world where anyone can say anything and post it on the internet, and it's true. A World that thrives on drama, and manipulation, where everyone wants to be a victim, and anyone will hear anything, with no context or actual knowledge of the situation, and it's true. (If they want it to be.) That's this world, and even moreso, this business. And this has been proven to be true of even some of my closest 'friends'. Trust me, If I wanted to spill dirt, or be a victim, or air people's dirty laundry, I have so much I could start a fucking dry cleaners. I believe in trust, and honor, even when those people go out of their way to try and fuck and destroy YOU.
"So, consider this my official retirement. Fuck music. I hate it now anyway. Fuck the music business. There really isn't one, and I hate it even more. (Of course there are a lot of amazing people in this business that I LOVE, and always will.) Fuck social media (and public life). I'm done with that too.
"To my friends, and those who have supported me, thank you. Liars, shit-talkers, behind the back whisperers, betrayers, and people who pretended to be my friends, or used me. Have at it.
"I'm gonna find something to do that I like. I'm going to collect and sell toys, and hang out with my kids and my dog, and try and be happy I'm alive. I might be broke, but I was always fucking broke. Welcome to the fucking music business.
"Say goodnight to the bad guy."
Last month, sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving Ellefson were posted on Twitter. The longtime MEGADETH member later released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he "groomed" an underage fan. He also filed a report with the police department in Scottsdale, Arizona alleging unlawful distribution of sexually explicit images of Ellefson by unknown offenders. In the report, Ellefson admitted that he had been exchanging sexual text messages with a Dutch teenager, who captured a video of several of their virtual "masturbating encounters" without his consent and shared them with friends. (According to Ellefson, the woman was 19 at the time of their first virtual sexual encounter.) The 56-year-old Ellefson, who lives in Scottsdale, first became aware of the video on May 9, when the claim "David Ellefson of MEGADETH is a pedophile" appeared on Instagram. Ellefson told police he was notified on May 14 by MEGADETH that the band would be parting ways with him. Three days later, he was fired.
Two days after the videos and screenshots were initially leaked, Hazaert took to his Instagram to share a photo of him with his middle finger extended, and he included the following message: "This one goes out to the chatty fuckers trying to whisper that I had something to do with what happened to David. David Ellefson is a grown fucking man and fully and solely responsible for his own decisions and judgment. But know... #ISeeYouMotherfucker".
When one person commented under Thom's photo that David should be commended "for getting out in front of it like a real man should" and "own[ing] up to his behavior", Hazaert responded: "absolutely.. which for the record.. I actually helped him do."
Ellefson, who has lived in Scottsdale since 1994, is also an author and entrepreneur, with Hazaert, holding the reins of EMP Label Group, Combat Records, Ellefson Coffee Co., and more, in addition to a diverse portfolio of brands and signature products. Ellefson was also inducted into the 2018 class of the Iowa Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, just over the border from Jackson in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
David, who became a Lutheran pastor nearly a decade ago, and his wife Julie Ellefson have been married for 27 years. They have two children.