Over the past month, Front Porch Step a.k.a. singer/songwriter Jake McElfresh has been accused of sexual harassment by numerous young girls, the most recent of whom posted a lengthy story (with pictures) to her Tumblr account. Some of the accusers have chosen to remain anonymous.
Most of the accusations that have been made against FPS include sexually explicit text messages and nude photographs sent to (and received from) underage girls. One accuser, who says she was underage at the time, claims McElfresh had phone sex with her.
To top it off, a Change.org petition was launched, asking for Vans Warped Tour to remove Front Porch Step from the bill this summer. The petition reads, “We believe that Front Porch Step should not be allowed to play Vans Warped Tour and be given a national venue where he has access to the young girls who attend Warped Tour. We are asking Kevin Lyman and Vans Warped Tour to take Front Porch Step off the tour before something more than sending texts happens.”
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman initially responded in a tweet, “I am on vacation, and when I get home, [the Front Porch Step] allegations will be [completely] vetted.” He has since announced that he will be “back to work earlier than expected” to deal with the situation.
Around the same time as Lyman, Pure Noise Records, FPS' label, released a brief statement: “Yes, we're aware of the rumors. Due to the serious legal nature of them this will not be handled over night. Thank you for your patience.”
A representative for Front Porch Step has been unresponsive to requests for further comment at this time.
McElfresh tweeted a brief statement of his own. “I am aware of everything going on right now and will be addressing it soon,” he said. “I'm so sorry this happened.”
He later added a longer update: “I am aware of the serious allegations and sensational things being posted on the internet about me and my personal life. While this is personally difficult to experience, I am taking the appropriate, meaningful, and objective steps to address the severity of these things and the horrendous words being used. I would truly hope that others who have or will propagate these serious allegations will do the same.”
Here some of the Tumblr accounts and posts from which the accusations have been made:
As of this posting, the petition to remove Front Porch Step from Warped Tour has collected more than 9,000 signatures.
AP will continue to update this story as it develops.
Update, Jan. 3: Singer/songwriter Allison Weiss announced that she will no longer be touring the U.K. with FPS. “Due to the recent allegations made against Jake McElfresh of Front Porch Step, I have decided I will not be touring with him this month in the U.K.,” Weiss said on Facebook. The petition to remove Front Porch Step from Warped Tour has now collected more than 11,000 signatures. As of this update, Front Porch Step has been removed from the roster on Pure Noise's website.