David Ellefson's longtime business partner Thom Hazaert says that he had nothing to do with the leak of the MEGADETH bassist's messages and videos featuring a woman who is not his wife.
Over the weekend, sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the 56-year-old 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.
On Tuesday (May 11),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."
In his statement on Monday, Ellefson wrote: "As you may or not know, some private and personal conversations and interactions have surfaced online, released with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them. While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible.
"As much as it's not something I'm proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family," he continued. "The other party involved has made a statement which you can see below. I thank her for doing so and hope that this clarifies that the situation was not at all as presented."
Ellefson's statement was accompanied by a screenshot of a social media post from the woman involved, who denied any suggestions that she was underage at the time. The woman also revealed she recorded the intimate moments and shared them with a friend without Ellefson's permission, calling herself "naïve" for doing so and claiming that the contact between her and the musician was "all consensual and all online." She also called assumptions that she was "groomed" by Ellefson "misinformation".
"Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate it and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that. It was all consensual, I'm not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it," the woman stated.
David, who became a Lutheran pastor nearly a decade ago, and his wife Julie Ellefson have been married for 27 years. They reportedly dated for six years after getting together in 1988. After two days of engagement, they married on April 2, 1994. They have two children, Roman Alexander (25) and Athena Grace (22).
Ellefson, who has lived in Scottsdale, Arizona 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.