Just days after releasing their triumphant self-titled comeback album, The Ghost Inside have parted ways with bassist Jim Riley over his use of a racial slur five years ago.
The alleged incident happened back in 2015 — the same year that the metalcore act were involved in a horrific tour bus crash that claimed the life of both vehicles’ drivers and horrifically maimed multiple members of the band — and it was dredged back into the spotlight this week in the wake of TGI’s efforts to raise funds for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The band recently released a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “What Do You Stand For?” with all proceeds going to benefit America’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, with the gesture prompting Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson to hit Twitter and call out the band for alleged hypocrisy.
“This is cute. @theghostinside y’all gonna act like your bitch ass bass player didn’t call y’alls bus driver a n*gger that time? I ain’t forget that shit,” he tweeted.
When quizzed about why this was all just coming to light now, five years after the fact, Jackson then shared a screenshot of a past tweet dated March 2nd, 2015 when he originally called Riley out.
Riley then took to Twitter himself to publicly address Jackson’s accusations. He posted a statement via a series of tweets, taking responsibility for the comments, apologising for them and revealing he’s spent the past five years trying to do better.
“Rashod called me out in 2015. I called him, he put the screws to me. I deserved it, and I apologized to him. He told me that wasn’t good enough and he was right.
“Its shameful and fucking embarrassing. I present myself as someone who gives a shit about progressive movements and ideas, and I was not living up to that.
Because of that conversation I had to take a big fucking look in the mirror and recognise a lot of bullshit that I was selling myself. I made too many excuses for being brought up without exposure to the black experience, and I should have been better.
I make a conscious effort to purge stuff about myself that still sucks when I find it, and to be mindful that I’m just a passenger on someone else’s ship in any movement related to black lives.
I’m sorry. I know that’s not enough. I’m going to keep doing the work. That might still not be enough. I’m going to do it anyway.”
However, it appears Jackson did not accept his apology.
“Hey coward…[email protected] me motherfucker. Apologize to ME. Apologize to my fucking PEOPLE. You were a coward then and an even bigger coward now. As long as youre in that band, I’ll make sure you NEVER play a show. Mark my words,” he tweeted back.
In response, several fans pointed out Jackson’s own frequent use of homophobic slurs, which he has yet to either address or apologise for:
— connor 𓆏 (@connorscott02) June 6, 2020
Nonetheless, his message appears to have connected, because The Ghost Inside have today released a statement, confirming that Jim Riley is no longer a member of the band.
“The Ghost Inside was born from a scene of forward thinking, understanding and progressiveness. Our music and message has always been one of hope and finding that light at the end of the tunnel. Racism and bigotry of any kind stifle that journey towards the light. It closes and locks doors that need to be broken open.
We have decided to part ways with bassist Jim Riley. While we didn’t hear these words spoken directly from his mouth, we did hear mutterings of the incident. At the time we thought this to be just a rumor, but it offended and hurt a community. A community we are meant to bring together. We should’ve spoken up back then but we didn’t, we should’ve dug deeper. We acknowledge that we were silent. We are self educating and growing and learning as individuals. We are here to say that we as a band fully condemn racism and support the black community in the fight against systemic racism.”
Read their full tweet below.