Image: Steven Pisano/Andreas Lawen
Content warning: this article discusses sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, you can find the appropriate local support services here.
Starcrawler frontperson Arrow de Wilde has come forward with accusations against her former tour mates The Growlers. In a lengthy Instagram post, de Wilde described how the band watched on in hysterics while she was assaulted by a male stripper, who they’d paid for.
Earlier this year, Californian rock band The Growlers toured Australia in support of their 2019 LP Natural Affair. Their main support for the tour was fellow Southern Californian act Starcrawler, led by 21-year-old vocalist Arrow de Wilde. “It was our first time in Australia, and we were really excited to be there with an older, more experienced band,” de Wilde wrote on Instagram. The tour had fulfilled expectations until an incident at one of the final shows at Melbourne’s Forum.
After finishing Starcrawler’s set, de Wilde walked off stage only to be scooped into a room by someone in paramedic gear. The Growlers were all in there too, and the paramedic was soon revealed to be a male stripper.
“[I began] to laugh as it honestly was pretty funny to me at first,” wrote de Wilde. The rest of her band mates didn’t appear in the room, however, and she would later discover the door had been locked. de Wilde says the humour soon faded as the prank stretched on for an uncomfortably long time. “As each layer of clothing peeled off [the stripper’s] body, The Growlers just continued to laugh and film the whole thing.”
And then it got physical. “I closed my eyes and put my hands over my face as I felt his bare dick and balls rubbing and pressing against my chest and face as he continued to hold me down.
“Once it was finally over, I ran to the bathroom to collect myself (aka cry) and wash the dick off my face. Everyone was still laughing and rewatching the videos to see my facial expression, talking about how ‘shocked’ I was.”
The Growlers’ lead singer Brooks Nielsen has taken to the band’s social media accounts to issue a statement of accountability, and an apology to de Wilde. “Arranging a male stripper as an end-of-tour prank to dance for the great Arrow de Wilde. . . was a horrible idea that turned out even worse,” wrote Nielsen.
“To Arrow: I was supposed to take care of you. I was supposed to protect you. I let you, your band mates and your family down. For that, I am forever sorry.”
The Growlers were also the subject of various anonymous allegations of mistreatment earlier in July. They’ve so far refused to accept culpability, while also claiming to take the allegations seriously.
Check out ‘I Love LA’ by Starcrawler: