In light of Candy Hearts' vocalist Mariel Loveland's allegations of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her tour manager last year, that former employee has since come forward. Zach Chad is the tour manager who was working for both Seaway and Candy Hearts in the timeframe Loveland was discussing.
We reached out to him before the publication of our interview with Loveland to get his side of the events. He got back to us today with the following statement, which he wrote and submitted to AP. To give him the same platform accorded to Loveland, we are running his statement in its entirety. Below is his account of the situation.
I would like to preface my statement with this; I encourage you to read this entire post in full and acknowledge that these situations in life are never black and white. Normally it is important that when accusations like this arise, the benefit of doubt is explicitly applied to the victim. There is no reason for those of you who don't have interpersonal relationships with us to question my accuser's story.
Stories of abuse have become all too common not just in the music scene but across college campuses, work environments, and anywhere people connect regardless of gender, race, or any other factor. It makes me sick to see women go through tragic trauma and abuse at the hands of a monster, but it makes me downright disgusted that my accuser would choose to fabricate lies for her own benefit. The manipulation of a situation with this gravity is disrespectful and dangerous to real victims of trauma and abuse that bravely bring forth serious claims. I cannot comment on the motives of why my accuser publicly posted a story that deviated so severely from the truth but I can't ignore the repeated misinformation being spread about me.
The irresponsible use of media creates a mob mentality that demands a head-on-a-stick over the first thing read online and accepted as fact. I truly hope anyone who has consumed this story as just another headline, takes an honest second to stop and realize what they are doing when they blindly follow a claim. No one has asked to see facts or seem to care about what actually happened with those involved. One last thing for me to point out is that these inaccurate claims which my accuser has made are all directed towards supposed actions made by myself, and in no way do they reflect the other band I was working for at the time, Seaway. I am no longer working with Seaway as of this moment.
Here is what actually happened that summer.
It is no secret that Mariel and I dated for several months before Warped Tour. While the relationship was admittedly toxic and unhealthy, it was never in any facet abusive. Mariel’s mother is a psychiatrist and repeatedly told me throughout the relationship that Mariel needed to make sure she was regularly taking her medicine to combat her bipolar disorder and seasonal depression; both conditions she has made public posts in the past about on her blogs and Twitter. There were very rough days where Mariel made claims of self-harm and accused me of not caring if she lived or died, to which I showed compassion but also frustration that we were caught in a toxic cycle.
It was during this time that a contract between Mariel, Candy Hearts band, her manager, and myself, was signed and agreed upon that I would tour manage the band while simultaneously tour managing Seaway on Warped Tour. We also agreed to a second contract that Candy Hearts band would be renting the trailer that Seaway regularly used on tour while Seaway was using a bandwagon with its own trailer. This is important to keep in mind to understand part of her claim.
While our relationship did finally end in March, we agreed to honor this business contract as adults and I would just deal all money and discussions with the drummer of Candy Hearts, Matt Ferraro. As the summer progressed, Mariel made it a point to make things as difficult as possible. She repeatedly asked me if she could “sleep with me” to which these advances I denied consistently; both because we agreed on a strictly business partnership and also because I was by this time already happily involved in a healthy relationship with someone else. I have several witnesses who were on the tour, that I have no doubt will come forward when they are ready, who can all attest to multiple occasions leading up to and even past the date and events mentioned in Mariel’s claim in which she was either sexually harassing me by grabbing my ass and trying to physically hang onto me and touch me while I asked her to please leave me alone or verbally harassing me by bringing around her new boyfriend Glenn, drummer of the band Moose Blood, and asking me if I was jealous and why I seemed so mad. At no time was I ever jealous or upset by this. I was seeing someone who I care deeply about and it was also good to see Mariel appearing to move on. It proved unfortunate that the harassment did not end.
On the night before the incident in question, Warped Tour was in Maryland. I had reached my breaking point with Candy Hearts over repeatedly difficult requests as well as complaining that I was not giving them enough “attention.” I was happily working for another band and living on their bus. They were treating me very well and voiced their concern for all of the harassment I was receiving from her. I decided to confront the drummer, Matt Ferraro, and tell him I wished to end my tour managing contract with them. At the exact time that I was standing by the Candy Hearts van to speak with Matt that evening, Mariel was seen barraging through the Seaway bandwagon completely unannounced and uninvited by the band. She was screaming my name and asking “where the fuck is he” and she was asked to please leave the bandwagon and that I wasn’t there. It is then that she found me next to her van having a discussion with Matt and began to scream at me and call me “a pussy” and “a coward” for not wanting to deal with their band. This incident was witnessed by members of other touring bands as well as Matt and the merch guy for Candy Hearts. I ignored her harassment and returned to my bandwagon to sleep for the night.
The next day in New Jersey, I carried on business as usual for Seaway and Candy Hearts. I had told Matt the night before that I would continue to submit guest lists and get set times for the rest of the week up until pay day and the following week he would take over as their tour manager. He agreed to this. After texting Matt the band’s info for that day, I returned to the Seaway merch tent to sell. It was then that Mariel stormed into the merch tent, in front of fans and other bands on the tour, and began to attack me. There were fans that I was mid-sale with who she cut off and began screaming at me. The event was so intense, these same fans even came back later in the day to ask if I was all right. (If any of you reading this are one of those customers who witnessed it, please feel free to come forward with your experience as you know what I’m about to tell is the truth of what actually happened. ) Mariel began to slap my head and shoulders and scream “You can’t quit, you work for me. I own you.” She repeatedly pushed me and yelled obscene things at me while I began to dig through my backpack to find the cash bag which held all of the Candy Hearts cash and receipts. At no point in time did my voice or level of intensity exceed or even match hers. I pulled out the cash bag and held it out for her to take it from me. She then slapped my hand away with the bag in my grasp. At this point, I tossed the bag toward her chest. The toss was underhand, it was lightly thrown, and the cash bag contained roughly $2000 in twenty and one hundred dollar bills. It was not a violent action, it was not with any malice, it was not aimed at her head. She then took the bag and threw it as hard as she could at my head, forcing me to bend over and pick up the cash bag again while she continued to scratch me, slap me and hurl insults at me. At this point, I asked the fans who were still standing in front of the tent to please excuse me and I made my way through the opposite side of the tent to leave and find Matt to give him the cash bag and explain to him that things were ending immediately after this scene. She then chased around the front of the tent and stood in my way, chest to chest, pressing herself into me and screaming “Do it, hit me! I dare you to hit me!” I made every effort to walk past her as she grabbed my hands and arms in an attempt to make me stand still. It’s no secret that I’m a large male and she is a small woman, so obviously if I am walking forward and she is trying to stand in front of me, even with my every effort to dodge her, she was in physical contact with me because of her own efforts. As I finally made it past her and walked away, the last thing she screamed was “You can’t get away with this, you just touched me! You assaulted me! Look at you, look at me. They will never believe you.” Everyone who saw me after that moment can attest that I reiterated that exact statement to them because it resonated with me.
Roughly two hours after this incident, I was called by Lisa Brownlee who works in production for Warped Tour. Her and Kevin Lyman wanted to speak with me regarding the incident because Mariel had gone to production to make her claim. I was presented with an honest and open discussion with Kevin and Lisa to give my side of the story. I explained everything that happened, just as I have above, and there were witnesses whose stories would coincide with mine. They admitted that the story Mariel told them had a number of inconsistencies. It was at this point that a number of actions were taken by Kevin and Lisa. First, Kevin called Candy Hearts’ manager Kristen to let her know about the incident and that she should void my contract to tour manage the band immediately. Kristen agreed. Second, they offered both parties a chance to call the police to file a report. I declined because this was just a heated moment, so I was willing to let bygones be bygones just as she seemingly wanted to do. She declined to file a report, as well. She claimed she was fine and just wanted me to stay entirely away from her the rest of the summer. To this, I happily agreed. Kevin Lyman asked to watch me delete and block every social media contact with Mariel and then block her number from my phone. I complied. From that point forward, I had no contact with Mariel. I was never once asked to leave Warped Tour by production or the band, Mariel told them that she did not mind I stay on the tour as long as I remained at a distance.
Then there was the issue of the trailer rental, as I mentioned before. Kevin knew that Candy Hearts was renting Seaway’s trailer. It was our property and we had every right to reclaim the trailer from them immediately, which would have left them stranded, but agreed not to as a sign of peace and resolution. When Mariel’s statement claims sympathy for Seaway in not reporting the clearly already reported incident, it was not out of fear they would be without a merch seller. It was simply because she knew Seaway would have every right to take away a major key to her band finishing the tour.
I would now like to point out that her claims of remaining in fear the rest of the summer are entirely false. I have many accounts that were witnessed by numerous people whom you will hear from shortly that can prove she actively sought me out on multiple occasions after this date to harass me. The most notable of these events took place on the second to last date of Warped Tour 2015 in Portland, Oregon. On this morning while setting up my merch tent next to the Handguns merch guy, Mariel approached me while holding the hand of her boyfriend Glenn. She asked me if we could talk and I turned my back and proceeded to continue setting up merch inside my tent and ignore her. She then released Glenn’s hand and stepped into my merch tent, the same place she assaulted me the first time and same place she claims to have felt unsafe and unwelcome, to confront me again. She began screaming at me “why won’t you talk to me? You think you’re some big tough guy but you’re scared to talk to a girl?” and “you have to give me back all the money we paid you, you don’t deserve it.” During this time I simply stated in a completely calm voice, “Please leave, you are not welcome near me.” I continued to repeat this exact phrase while making eye contact with Handguns’ merch guy because I knew at this point this girl was not well and there needed to be witnesses of my demeanor. I never once threatened her personal well-being or the future of her band. I made no comments on what would become of her career following the tour. She had attempted to lie once before in the summer to make me out to be a womanizer, and I would not let it happen again. Finally, Glenn convinced her to walk away and they left, and I never saw Mariel again.
Mariel and I have remained entirely out of contact until one month ago. While on tour in Europe, I received a random email to my old email address from Mariel. Her email stated that she was planning on exposing me as being a monster and that she feared for girls who met me at shows. This was the first time that I thought that maybe the incidents from Warped Tour might resurface, but after some careful thought I figured it was nothing to worry about. The incident was not private. It was actually the entire talk of Warped Tour from then on out. There were no charges pressed, nothing was “swept under a rug” and everyone just knew that Mariel had blown up on me and I walked away to stop tour managing her band. That was it. Her claims of being “tired of remaining silent” are just inconceivable because at no point was this incident ever a secret. It was witnessed, in broad daylight, by hundreds of Warped Tour patrons. It was discussed over and over as a gossip point amongst everyone on the tour. She spoke to many people about her side of the story while I just remained silent and kept to myself because anyone who knows me knows that I would never ever harm a woman.
The email I received while in Europe was, at best, an attempt to scare me into thinking she had a premeditated plan to make a false claim of abuse to gain momentum in her career again. Following Warped Tour, her band Candy Hearts did have some major setbacks. Their manager stopped working with them, the record label stopped future plans with them and her booking agent stopped working with her because of the liability. For some reason, she has chosen now to resurface something that was never a secret to begin with and this time shape herself into a victim. It should also be noted that the same website that is fully backing her false statements, Substream Magazine, is also the sole sponsor of her new solo career. Immediately following her accusation, the tour sponsored by Substream Magazine began to be plugged by both the magazine and her personal Tumblr. They’re capitalizing on headlines of a falsified rumor involving the most heated word one can use in our scene—“abuse”—and then immediately plugging her new solo career.
It is unfortunate that Mariel took this route. It is even more unfortunate that a person in her position—a female artist with such a high platform to speak properly and powerfully on behalf of all women in our music scene who feel belittled and threatened—has chosen to make a false claim for personal gain and therefore cause even more controversy of invalidation towards real victims, real women who have been beaten or abused and are looking for help and someone to believe in. No one should be complacent with witnessing abuse and had any of these allegations been true, I am confident that any party who had knowledge of it or witnessed it would hold me accountable. There are too many victims of such awful physical abuse, however Mariel Loveland is not one of them.