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Anti-Flag Address Shock Disbandment

27 July 2023 | 9:09 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

"We felt the only immediate option was to disband."


Anti-Flag (Source: Supplied)

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American punk rockers Anti-Flag shocked fans last week when they announced their sudden disbandment.

The band didn’t write a long, sad message about why they broke up; they just left the following message on their Patreon: “Anti-Flag has disbanded. the Patreon has been switched into a mode where it will no longer charge the monthly fee. I will begin to process refunds to all patrons in the coming weeks. Once all refunds are processed the Patreon page will also be removed.”

Since their breakup came to light, so did potential allegations against singer Justin Sane. Stereogum reported that a recent episode of the podcast Enough contained a woman’s allegations that an unnamed singer from an East Coast political punk band sexually assaulted her. Fans on Reddit claimed that the accusations pointed at Sane.

Sane has since responded to the allegations, writing on Instagram overnight that the allegations are “categorically false”. “I have never engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual, nor have I ever been approached by a woman after a sexual encounter and been told I had in any way acted without her consent or violated her in any way,” the singer said.

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“Now that I have had a few days to absorb the initial shock, I am making this statement to set the record straight.”

Sane added that he knows sexual assault is real and “has a devastating impact on victims”. Throughout his adult life, the singer said he used his platform in Anti-Flag to stand up for “those suffering oppression and inequality, who are victimized, demeaned, and abused”.

The statement continued, “I have always been, and will always be, that person. The statements being told about me are the antithesis of what I believe and how I have conducted myself throughout my life.

“In regard to Anti-flag disbanding, as a band, the decision was made that under these circumstances, it would be impossible to continue.

“I want to thank my family and friends, and the many, many fans, musicians, and bands who have reached out to me to offer their support and help.”

His Anti-Flag bandmates, Chris Head, Chris Parker and Pat Thetic, also made a statement, which read, “A core tenet of the band Anti-Flag is to listen to and believe all survivors of sexual violence and abuse. The recent allegations about Justin are in direct contradiction to that tenet. Therefore, we felt the only immediate option was to disband.”

The trio said they have been “shocked, confused, saddened and absolutely heartbroken” since the potential allegations surfaced. “While we believe this is extremely serious, in the last 30 years we have never seen Justin be violent or aggressive toward women. This experience has shaken us to our core.”

They added, “We understand and apologize [sic] that this response may not have been quick enough for some people. This is new territory for all of us and it is taking time for us to process the situation.

“It was a privilege for us to be in the band Anti-Flag, as we seek to find our path forward we wish healing to all survivors.”

Since forming in 1988, Anti-Flag, with their left-wing political activism and rock and roll tunes, released 13 albums before calling it quits. They are best known for the albums Die For The Government (1996), For Blood And Empire (2006), and 2001’s Underground Network. In January 2023, the band dropped their latest album, Lies They Tell Our Children.