Ex-He Is We touring guitarist Macy Santa Maria took to Facebook to publish her alleged experience of being sexually assaulted by the band’s frontwoman Rachel Taylor while on tour and which resulted in her decision to quit the tour along with other members. You can read her and Rachel’s full statements below.
I had the opportunity to do what I love this past summer and play guitar for the band He Is We, but unfortunately it was short-lived. The night before the first show, I was sexually assaulted by the lead singer Rachel Taylor. I have contemplated sharing my story and have decided to share it on my own in hopes to raise awareness of sexual assault, specifically in the music industry. My objective is shed a little light on sexual assault, that a man or WOMAN is capable of committing. Rachel Taylor has ruined a part me and for her to have the opportunity to hide from this and continue her music career is disgusting. This is something I’m not going to hide from, and neither should anyone facing this issue.
This was a situation that was instigated by Rachel and she is solely to blame. She was the one who got violently drunk and began to grab me. She was the one who continued the inappropriate behavior no matter how many times I said stop or took her hands off of me, she is the reason why we had to stop touring and she is the reason I feel sick on a regular basis. What she did was not okay and should not be tolerated. The morning after it happened I just tried to push it out of my mind because it was the first day of tour and I was just focused on doing my job. By the second day of tour, it was at the forefront of my mind and all I could think about. It was then I decided to speak up about how I felt.
After I spoke up about how uncomfortable I was with what had happened, band mates Wes Chamberlain and Ben McBride quickly jumped into action to keep Rachel and I separated and to make sure I was okay. Once informed of the situation, the booking agent Bobby Hendrix quickly pulled He Is We from the tour and worked with me to get a flight home. Wes, Ben and Bobby did everything right and are not to be blamed for this at all. They did everything in their power to take care of me in the most vulnerable and distraught state that I’ve ever been in and I am so thankful to have them in my life. I really don’t know what I would have done without them. Wes, Ben, Bobby and Adamm Mitchell (guitarist and producer) have all separated themselves from He Is We and associated artists have been warned about this behavior.
Just for clarification, I never initially wanted to leave the tour. I never said or expressed in any way that I wanted to leave the tour prior to this incident. Playing music and touring is something that I’m really passionate about and I never wanted to stop doing that. I also did not receive any financial compensation for this. I had to buy my own flight home and was only paid for the two drive days and two show days that were completed. I did asked to be compensated for my flight home home because that was in the original pay agreement and I ask to be compensated for the rest of the tour because I had to quit my job to do this and never heard back. I let it go because I am not looking for money out of this.
There is a police case open on this, an OOP is out and I also reached out to a publication company to cover the story, but because it is such a sensitive topic that gives me so much anxiety I have decided to release my statement on my own first. I’m also doing this to clear the names of my fellow bandmates Ben and Wes. They have done nothing wrong no matter how much Rachel has spoken negatively of them or accused then of any false wrongdoing. They stood up and did the right thing and I am insanely proud of them. Again, I am not looking for money, “15 minutes of fame” or anything else other than telling the truth.
I was considering not saying anything at all because I wanted to keep touring, but I couldn’t stand how I felt. People are hesitant to speak up about abuse in the music industry because of the fear of losing their job. That should never be an issue standing in front of doing the right thing. The only way we’re going to see that change is if we speak up. Finding statistics for women sexually assaulting women was near impossible. The only one I could find was for women sexually assaulting women in prison and that was 4% (“How Often Do Women Rape Men?”, 2016). Women do sexually assault people and we need to end the stigma around that. That needs to be known.
She has been trying to sweep this under the rug since it happened and if you feel as passionately about this as I do, do not let that happen. Please share and tag larger sources if you feel comfortable doing so.
Also If you have been a victim of sexual assault there are some resources listed below. My door is always open too.
A Voice For The Innocent – http://www.avoicefortheinnocent.org
Anti Violence Project (serves LGBT) – https://avp.org
Hotline – 212.714.1124
Punk Talks – https://www.punktalks.org
National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800.656.4673
National Sexual Violence Resource Center – https://www.nsvrc.org
Santa Maria talked with Alt Press to discuss the series of events:
“Everyone just needs to be more understanding and respectful of this topic. I didn’t have control of that situation, but I’m controlling what comes out of it and that’s a good feeling. I don’t feel completely better and probably won’t for a while, but sharing this is almost therapeutic and facing this head-on is helping me heal.”
Rachel Taylor has responded via Facebook to the accusations and denies the claims (full statement below):
Never would I have believed I’d be here writing a statement like this. But here it goes…
This tour was with the members of She Is We and we had hired a new guitar player. I was told that said person was homesick after they’d been acting distant. I was then told that said person no longer wanted to tour by another bandmate who was hired to play the tour. I was then asked for money or there would be a statement made public. I still had absolutely no clue what was happening nor what kind of statement would be made. Nothing had been said to me nor made any sense whatsoever. All I had known is that this individual was jumping off the tour, asked to be paid for the entirety of the tour, and then only agreed to play the final show if said person could pick the songs. By the time I was taken to the hotel (still not knowing what was taking place), my account had been emptied and the vehicle rented in my name had been taken back to Washington state.
For the first time in my entire life, I knew what it felt like to be robbed of, not only finances, but of my character. Although I personally am not a lesbian or bisexual, I have always fought on behalf of the LGBT community and those who’ve been a survivor of sexual violence. In no way, shape or form would I ever even remotely do a thing to another person to hurt or make them uncomfortable. I have a 19 year old sister who means the world to me and a best friend of over 15 years who came out in a private school, who I defended through the years, is more than enough to show that I am a big sister and an advocate for love and equality. My job on tour is to ensure that everyone understands they’re part of a family bigger than themselves and I have never been met with such evil intent in my close to 10 years of doing this.
As someone who has conquered great demons, I wouldn’t wish any pain or anguish on others. The fact that I was immediately asked for money, before knowing what was stacked against me, shook me to the core. I’m not a lesbian. I’m not bisexual. I’m not violent. I couldn’t even begin to describe the love I’ve always had for the underdog in scenarios.
I AM a fighter for those who feel silenced and I will NOT be painted to be anything other than who I am. I am an advocate against character slander, bullying, judgmental minds, and those who kick us when we are down.
I have zero idea as to why any allegation was made and money was asked for. I will always promote a safe work environment and I was never given any reason to believe it was anything other than that. If I had known that there was ANYTHING offensive or out of line, it certainly would’ve been handled. I will always be a champion for equality for all. That is what the name He Is We means. I will remain steadfast and resolute to what the name means. I am confused and hurt that anyone would make such a despicable accusation. I will continue to be an example of leading the fight on.