Who is Bassnectar? DJ sued for sex trafficking, grooming minors for sex, child pornography and abuse

The musician 'required the sex be unprotected' and suggested underage women to watch the film 'American Beauty'


                            Who is Bassnectar? DJ sued for sex trafficking, grooming minors for sex, child pornography and abuse
Lorin Ashton aka Bassnectar allegedly sexually abused minors (Getty Images)

A lawsuit alleging sex crimes has been filed against Lorin Ashton, better known as the West Coast-based electronic music producer DJ Bassnectar. The complaint, which was filed on Friday, April 2 on behalf of two women, according to Fox News, accuses the musician of sex trafficking, child pornography and sexual abuse.

The filing included other defendants, including companies Amorphous Music Inc, Bassnectar Touring Inc, Interactive Giving Fund, Red Light Management and C3 Presents LLC. The lawsuit declares that the DJ's positive public image is "nothing more than a veil to mask his sinister desires and actions and a means to use his power and influence to groom and ultimately sexually victimize underage girls."

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Lorin Ashton aka Bassnectar (Getty Images)

Who is Bassnectar?

DJ and record producer Lorin Ashton grew up in a San Francisco Bay Area commune and initially identified with visual arts rather than music, making movies with his father's camera at the age of ten, according to a biography on Web Archive. He eventually bought himself a guitar and began making 'mash ups', following which he began experimenting with music, and practicing Brazilian samba on a set of homemade drums.

When he was 16 years old, he started a death metal band named Pale Existence, which contributed to his heavy style of music. During this time, he promoted underground shows, organized a local battle of the bands that inspired crazy moshpits. In the following years, he became increasingly more involved in the scene, distributing food and assistance to concertgoers, buying records and eventually learning to DJ after studying electronic music production. He eventually began to play large house parties and spin psychedelic trance and gained fame nationally and internationally. He made appearances at large-scale festivals in the early 2000s, including Burning Man, where he often played up to seven sets a night and Shambala.

Bassnectar performs during day two of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2010 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2010, in Indio, California (Getty Images)

'I am proud to be an ally of women'

In July 2020, Bassnectar announced that he was "stepping back from music" following allegations of sexual misconduct against underage girls which had recently surfaced online. An Instagram page called evidenceagainstbassnectar outed him, sharing testimonial evidence from as far back as 2015 that the high-profile artiste had had sexual encounters with underage fans and had used his fame and status as a famous musician to engage in his illegal sexual pursuits. 

After being labeled a sexual predator on social media, the then 42-year-old DJ, who had previously refuted the allegations on his Facebook group 'Love Here', did not outright deny the claims. Responding to allegations that he had sexually assaulted women in the past, Bassnectar said in a statement made on June 29, 2020: "I have never been involved in anything that was not absolutely, unequivocally consensual. During a time when high profile men are being called out for their violence against women, I am proud to be an ally of women and stand in solidarity with victims. Thank you to all those who are listening to real victims of abuse and standing to support women."

Bassnectar performs onstage during day 1 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2013, in Indio, California (Getty Images)

'Rumors untrue, past actions may have caused pain'

Following the pileup of overwhelming evidence, however, and testimonies from more fans pouring in, the DJ issued another statement on Twitter on July 3, reading: "I am stepping back from my career and I am stepping down from my position of power and privilege in this community because I want to take responsibility and accountability. I feel intense compassion for anyone I may have hurt. I truly hope you allow me a chance to work together toward healing."

In the same statement, the DJ denied the allegations against him, saying: "The rumors you are hearing are untrue, but I realize some of my past actions have caused pain, and I am deeply sorry. I am handing off our nonprofit Be Interactive to a diverse team to continue without my involvement moving forward. Sometime in the future, I may share more thoughts on these matters, but for now, please take care of each other and I wish you all the brightest future." 

Asked them to watch 'American Beauty'

In the lawsuit filed on Friday, Bassnectar was accused of using social media, live shows and other platforms "in order to gain young girls trust" and requiring them to contact him through "secretive messaging apps ... so that he could groom them for eventual sex acts, get them to send him sexually explicit photographs and further exploit them for his own gratification," Fox News reported

The musician is alleged to have invited female minors to his hotel room after shows, and demand they shower and have sex with them, "requiring the sex be unprotected", in exchange of providing "large sums of cash and other items of value". He also allegedly demanded that the girls send him sexually explicit pictures of themselves via their cell phones, thus violating child pornography laws. The plaintiffs, according to the legal documents, said the DJ suggested they watch the film 'American Beauty', which follows a sexually frustrated suburban father engaging in a relationship with an underage woman.

A still from 'American Beauty' starring Kevin Spacey and Mena Suvari (Dreamworks)

 

'Sex trafficking adventure'

The companies mentioned in the lawsuit were allegedly used to "fund and support Bassnectar's sex trafficking venture," since the musician would provide tickets and travel arrangements for the underage women, demanding sex during their time together and imposing strict rules over them.

One of the two plaintiffs alleged that the DJ met her at a hotel and had unprotected sex with her, following which he gave her $1,000. At a later date, he engaged in "sexual abuse" toward the woman and demanded her to abstain from sex with other people while he was free to engage with anyone he wanted. When, during a phone call, she allegedly confronted his actions and called it "statutory rape", Bassnectar allegedly admitted to his "inappropriate" actions.

The second woman had a similar story. She alleged that the DJ suggested they meet at a hotel and had sex with her before providing her with cash. She was not yet 18. They allegedly had sexual encounters in 10 different states, Fox News reported. Both these incidents occurred between 2012-2016.

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