Slash has voiced his concern about men being falsely accused of sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo Movement, saying that just being accused is all it takes to destroy someone's reputation.
Asked in a new interview with Classic Rock magazine if #MeToo, which has inspired countless women to share stories about experiencing sexual abuse and harassment, has affected the music business, the GUNS N' ROSES guitarist said: "It's a good question. I think the #MeToo movement is definitely justified — it's actually way overdue." But obviously, he said, it's complicated "in the context of being in a fucking rock and roll band. Fortunately, I'm taken, so I'm not dealing with all that, but I have to admit there were times I looked into my past and [as if he's talking to himself]: 'Well that was consensual.'"
He continued: "I never had a working relationship with anybody that I was, you know, trying to pressure into having sex or anything.
"The problem is that you could be falsely accused of something, but it almost doesn't matter — it's out there. Even if you were to get your name cleared, the damage is already done. And that's pretty sad."
Slash's comments echo those made by KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, who also expressed his concern about the "heinous collateral damage" caused by the #MeToo movement, saying that "anybody can say anything and there's no presumption of innocence."
"I think it's wonderful for women to be engaged in the conversation and the positive side is there have been a lot of bad guys who have gotten away with it [and aren't anymore] — that's a good thing," Simmons told the Toronto Sun.
"The collateral damage is heinous because anybody can say anything and there's no presumption of innocence," he added. That's the problem. The problem is you don't have your day in court.
"As soon as somebody cries and the mascara runs, the guy's life is ruined and it's over. He may be guilty or he may be innocent but what happened to our justice system? You'll make more money. You'll embarrass him every day. Instead of in a news conference which gets you no money. I'm totally in support of anything and everything that follows the rule of law. Get a lawyer. Do it legitimately."
The #MeToo and Time's Up movements were launched following the sexual misconduct scandal surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The scandal inspired many women to come forward to accuse not only Weinstein but others in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Weinstein's career was brought to a halt after dozens of women in the entertainment industry — including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — accused him of varying degrees of sexual misconduct over the years.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein has repeatedly denied allegations "of non-consensual sex." Weinstein has also apologized for "the way I've behaved with colleagues in the past."
Last November, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich addressed the wave of sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, saying that the disgraced Hollywood producer's case was being used as a valuable starting point for vitally important discussions about Hollywood's "casting couch" culture, wilful silence in the face of sexual harassment and sexual predators in the working environment. But Ulrich also warned: "There will be a point somewhere down the line where somebody's life is gonna get changed because of a potentially false accusation. And when that happens, I hope that we can find ways to, sort of, navigate as a society, media just through that, and hopefully that we make the best choices."
Although there have been some moves to highlight harassment in music, there has yet to be a focal, Weinstein-style watershed moment in the music business.
HALESTORM frontwoman Lzzy Hale said earlier this month that she believes consequences of sexual misconduct in the music industry will eventually hit home. "I am a part of the rock world, and I talk about sex, and sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll is very much alive in our world," she said. "Thankfully, we've never been in any situations where we can get called out on anything like that. But it's interesting. I don't think it's that the rock industry hasn't been affected by it. I just think it's gonna take a second for all of that to start coming out."