In a statement posted to Twitter early Monday, legendary heavy metal band Megadeth announced they were “officially parting ways” with bass player and co-founder David Ellefson following a series of sexual misconduct allegations regarding Ellefson and an underage girl. The band’s lead singer, guitarist, and co-founder Dave Mustaine signed the statement and announced that it would not slow the band’s touring and release schedule.
“We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him,” the statement reads. “We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward.”
“We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete.”
On May 10, a series of allegations against Ellefson, accusing him of “grooming” an underage girl, spread on social media. Throughout the day, screenshots and clips from video messages between Ellefson and the alleged victim spread online. Some commenters claimed that the girl in question was under the age of consent. Ellefson denied the allegations on his now-private Instagram account. Before closing the account to the public, he wrote that the messages were “private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family.” The bassist claimed these messages were released “with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them.” Additionally, Effelson released a video that supposedly featured the female in question who said that she was “always a consenting adult” and that “it was all consensual and all online.” However, the woman’s identity was never confirmed, and the comment has since been deleted.
Megadeth responded to the allegations, claiming that they were monitoring the situation. “We are aware of the recent statements regarding David Ellefson, and are watching developments closely,” the band said in a statement. “As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another. However, there are clearly aspects of David’s private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light.”
Ellefson left the group in 2002 over a disagreement with Mustaine when the singer released a solo album under the Megadeth name. The bassist unsuccessfully sued the group over the rights to the group’s name and back catalog. He returned to Megadeth in 2010.