TW S*XUAL A*SAULT
Upon the news that Panic! At The Disco’s biggest hit ’High Hopes’ has reached 1 billion streams fans were left feeling apathetic, disinterested and in some cases angry that the song had hit his milestone due to the allegations surrounding their frontman Brendon Urie.
Allegations of sexual assault started to surface after Breezy Weekes, the wife of IDKHOW member and former Panic! Bandmember Dallon Weekes publicly stated she had suffered years of sexist comments and sexual aggression from the band’s bodyguard Zack Hall in summer 2020. Following her statement on Twitter several fans also came out publicly with similar stories involving both Zack and then even Brendon himself.
Originally Brendon had remained silent on the issues until November 2020 where he went live on Twitch to announce that Zack had been fired and to discuss the allegations. Brendon Said: “I wanna say I’m truly sorry for anyone who’s been hurt by this directly or has been made to feel unheard. The safety of our fans is a priority, and I do not take that lightly. because, the last thing I want is for anyone to feel unsafe when they’re coming to see Panic! At The Disco. So, moving forward we’ll also be holding mandatory anti-harassment training sessions for anybody who works for the band.
“And that being said, Zack is still my friend. You know, I’ve seen him grow so much over the last several years, and I do believe in second chances. And though I don’t see him ever interacting with fans again, I’m not just gonna shut the door on him forever, or stop being his friend. And again, part of the reason I’ve been keeping to myself is because I’ve just had a lot to learn.
“And again, I can’t tell you how sorry I am to those who’ve been hurt, and those who’ve had to wait while I caught up and took the time I needed to listen and just learn. You know you guys give me real, genuine hope for the future. I hope we can make it up to you. I miss you guys, and, as you always know, I love you. I appreciate you; I thank you for existing. And as always remember how dope you are, okay? Um, please stay safe, and I’ll talk to you guys later. I love you, thanks.”
Fans were still left angry and let down by ‘Beebo’ as he provided no defence over his own allegations and admitted to remaining friends with Zack.
Although some groups of fans looked further into the anonymous claims made against Brendon and found inconsistencies to their story’s details involving show dates and venues as well as distinctive similarities to a Panic! At The Disco fan-fiction story that had been popular amongst fans in the early 2010s, which gave fans hope that the allegations were false. As of yet there have been no formal police reports made against Brendon involving these allegations, making him innocent in the eyes of the law. However, the court of public opinion has a differing view on his innocence, with many fans left not knowing what to believe many have abandoned the band’s music out of fear of supporting an abuser, others aren’t fussed about the allegations and believe that a person’s talent shouldn’t be disregarded by their controversial reputation.
Despite the controversies surrounding the band, Brendon spoke out against Donald Trump and condemned him for playing his songs at one of his rallies and his charity The Highest Hopes Foundation that helps advocate for human rights continued to fight against all forms of inequality. He also spoke out and supported the BLM movement on his various social media platforms. The band were also nominated for three BMA awards and did a partnership with the Fender Play Free campaign that allows people to access three months of free guitar lessons and 10% of guitar products.
Brendon isn’t the only band member in hot water right now as the band’s former bass player, Brent Wilson was arrested in Las Vegas after being caught with 13g of meth, 1.2g of cocaine, 62.6g of heroine and a handgun at the end of January 2021. Wilson had already faced legal troubles and was out on bail at the time of his arrest.
With faith being lost in the band and with a fanbase divided will Brendon have high hopes of a comeback once Panic! Releases new music? And will the public support the band is receiving be enough to bring fans back and ensure their image hasn’t been tarnished? Or is it better for the public to close the god damn door on Brendon’s career…