Sydney punk rockers The Rumjacks have responded to a social media campaign which is attempting to get music venues to boycott the band over singer Frankie McLaughlin’s domestic violence convictions.
The Rumjacks have supposedly had their preparations for a 2016 national tour thrown into disarray after several booked venues reportedly cancelled their bookings just weeks before the tour.
In a statement to Music Feeds today, The Rumjacks say:
“In response to various articles published in the Australian Music media today, we would like the opportunity to separate the facts from some of the false allegations that have surfaced in recent days.
“Frankie McLaughlin was convicted in 2012 with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of common assault against a former partner. He served a 16-month custodial sentence.
“There are various people now engaged in a campaign to have venues throughout Australia boycott The Rumjacks. Frankie McLaughlin has never been convicted of sexual assault or rape, as has been published by a number of people on social media and elsewhere. Steps have been taken to have these allegations retracted.”
Speaking for himself, McLaughlin says, “I fully acknowledge and apologise for my wrongdoing and I regret the long lasting damage to my former partner caused by my actions. I also regret that each time we perform, she is harmed through discussions on social media.
“I have endeavoured to deal with my issues through regular counselling and positive lifestyle changes. I have changed my life for the better since my jail term through focus and hard work and it is my intention to draw awareness to the issue of domestic violence in the future and to actively support efforts to eradicate it from our society.”
The Rumjacks say they are not hiding from McLaughlin’s convictions and haven’t attempted to withhold information about the convictions from anyone. They also point to counselling and healthier lifestyle choices that McLaughlin has undertaken.
“The band understands and appreciates the concerns of people in the community surrounding domestic violence, and believe in rehabilitation and the legal and criminal justice system, and we hope that people will look at the facts before coming to a decision to boycott venues involved with The Rumjacks,” they say.
Pedestrian reports that Newcastle’s Hamilton Station Hotel denied The Rumjacks a booking, despite appearing on the group’s tour poster. The Reverence Hotel in Footscray and Adelaide’s Enigma Bar have also reportedly cancelled the band’s upcoming shows, and Ulladulla’s Marlin Hotel have supposedly made it clear they were not aware of McLaughlin’s past. Other venues are said to be considering their options.
Music Feeds has contacted The Rumjacks’ tour promoter to confirm which of the band’s upcoming shows are still going ahead.
The Rumjacks went on a brief hiatus in 2012 following McLaughlin’s convictions, but have toured extensively over the last few years.
If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732, while Lifeline can be reached on 13 11 14.