The Ghost Inside call firing bassist over past racial remark “the wrong call”
Jim Riley was fired from the band back in June.September 17, 2020
Now, The Ghost Inside are reflecting back on their decision and agree that it was “the wrong call.”
Amidst the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in June, The Ghost Inside released their “What Do You Stand For?” shirt with all profits going to the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People.
However, Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson commented on the shirt’s post and brought up an incident where Riley used a racial slur against their bus driver. He also had a tweet from when the incident happened to show that it was previously addressed.
In the statement, the band took full responsibility for the racial remark. The Ghost Inside knew about Riley’s comment towards the bus driver and did not look further into the situation, an action they regret.
Shortly after this, Riley was interviewed and further opened up about the situation. In the interview, he took full responsibility for his actions but knows that some people will never forgive him.
“I have to do what I can to make amends for it,” he said. “Some people will forgive and some people will never forgive me. And I’ve gotta own that and all the consequences that come with that. The damage I’ve done to the reputation of the band can’t be undone.”
Now, The Ghost Inside are opening up about their decision to part ways with Riley. In an interview for the Defiance Podcast, the band say they regret their decision. Drummer Andrew Tkaczyk reveals that they felt pressure to make a quick decision regarding the situation.
“We were just feeling the pressure from fans, people on social media, and even some peers,” Tkaczyk says. “We felt the pressure and we made a decision against the wishes of our management and label.”
He further shares that the band immediately regretted their decision to remove Riley from The Ghost Inside. In fact, the band are still close to Riley.
“I think we all just saw something going on that was like a lose/lose,” he continues. “And we just felt like that was the call to make at the time and immediately felt bad and felt wrong. We knew that, we never stopped talking to Jim or anything. We literally have chatted every day since.”
Along with this, guitarist Chris Davis says they believed this incident could “take away the band again.” In 2015, the band were involved in a tragic bus accident that resulted in a number of fatalities, the loss of Tkaczyk’s leg and many years of recovery.
“It felt that incident was going to take away the band again,” Davis shares. “It just felt so overwhelming that it’s like we have to… all five of us felt like we had to do something. Looking back now, we definitely acted hastily and definitely made the wrong call.”
Riley himself also weighed in on the band’s decision. He says he understood why The Ghost Inside decided it was best for him to step away from the project.
“I told the guys I would gladly step away from the band if that was going to be what it took for The Ghost Inside to move forward,” Riley shares. “In the moment, it did definitely feel like that was the only decision that could be made. If it felt like there was some other way to navigate this, we would have done that instead. It just didn’t feel that way.”
It’s unknown whether Riley has been reinstated in The Ghost Inside. However, Tkaczyk does imply in the interview that the band may change their mind about firing Riley.
“We fucked up,” Tkaczyk says. “We are also just human and we fucked up and that’s it. If people don’t want to support the band and all that, I accept that. That’s everyone’s decision to make but regardless of anything we’ve even just said, the most important thing is that Jim is still our brother.”
The Ghost Inside’s full interview can be streamed below. Jim Riley’s full statement following his departure from The Ghost Inside can be read here.
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