It’s been five months since The New York Times published an in-depth piece on singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, detailing accusations from numerous women he’s been romantically or sexually involved with over the years—including songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, actress Mandy Moore, and one woman who says she was only 14 when she and Adams were involved—that he exhibited controlling or abusive behavior while he was with them, and used his fame and influence to manipulate female songwriters into relationships. In the wake of the report (which Adams aggressively refuted through a lawyer), the Heartbreaker artist issued an apology to “anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally,” reiterated his denials of the article’s contents, and then dropped off social media.
In the weeks that followed, news circulated that the FBI was looking into the claims, that stations were dropping airplay of his songs, and that at least one of the three albums that the prolific Adams was planning for 2019 had now been delayed. (Perhaps most impactfully, he also canceled a U.K. and Ireland tour that was set to kick off at the end of March.) In the absence of any new developments, though—and with Adams laying low—the story slowly faded into the background as the months progressed, one more bad taste in the mouth (among many) associated with a prominent entertainment industry man.
Which brings us to late last night, when Adams returned to social media with a posture that might comfortably be called “aggressive,” tweeting out a presumably pointed music video of Heaven & Hell’s “The Mob Rules,” followed by a long statement that included the sentiments, “All the beauty in a life cannot be reduced to rubble for lies” and “I have a lot to say. I am going to. Soon.”
The last few years have been fascinating case studies in terms of watching powerful men accused of doing awful things to women assert their rights to continue to be rich, famous, and professionally successful, pretty much regardless. Adams’ imposed period of “For the love of god, please just go away” was even shorter than, say, Louis CK’s; we’ll know more about his self-demanded comeback soon, pretty much whether we want to or not.