Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker has hit out at Echosmith drummer Graham Sierota for allegedly messaging his underage daughter.
Alabama, 13, shared screenshots of 20-year-old Sierota’s messages on Instagram, with the musician reportedly first reaching out to her when she was just 10 back in 2016.
The teenager didn’t respond until a couple of weeks ago when he invited her to a barbecue at his house.
She simply posted: “Ur like 40 (sic),” to which he replied insisting he was 20 and was a fan of her music.
Alabama called the whole thing “super creepy.”
Barker has since released a statement to The Blast, in which he said: “When I found out a 20-year-old man was trying to get in touch with my 13-year-old daughter by filling her Instagram messages with party invites and compliments I was disgusted.
“That’s predatory behaviour and there is nothing cool, normal, or OK about it at all.”
Sierota then apologized in a statement to Just Jared.
He insisted, “I had invited Alabama to my parents’ big family BBQ along with many other people, and it wasn’t until she responded that I realized her age at which point I apologized to her.
“I’m really sorry and feel very badly about this. I didn’t realize she was a minor and assumed she was my age. I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologize again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family.”
Alabama also shared a statement on Instagram, insisting she wants the whole thing to be over, apologizing on Sierota’s behalf.
Sierota’s family then issued a lengthy statement:
We have never publicly addressed this in the past, but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations of Graham. As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues.
Graham’s challenges have always been a non-issue in our family. In fact, it is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is. His outlook on life inspires us every day. He’ll be the first one to say “today is gonna be the best day ever,” or, “you’re my best friend and you look amazing today.” He sees the world as the happiest place, where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included. One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us “Graham reached out on social media and invited us!” Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world.
We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
As a family, we will continue to work with him to have the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilize social media while he takes a break from it.
We hope anyone who’s been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies.