Last week, Be Like Max broke up following allegations that the band's Charley Fine made homophobic remarks and kissed touring musican, Eric Daino, against his will on stage. This week, Fine released an apology which also comments on the background of the incidents. You can read that below.
Charley Fine Statement I’ve had to take the last few days to reflect on my actions before I could put into words how I feel and how I wanted to go about apologizing.
First, I want to address the onstage incident with Eric. I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused by my actions. While the intent of my actions contained no malice or effort to abuse him, this kiss crossed a very real line and created very real pain. And worse, it was in a space that is a home for both of us and full of our peers who mean the world to us. My actions were a part of a very low brow culture of juvenile behavior I’ve taken part in on and off stage. It became a part of our banter. Something so familiar to me during the set that I became blind as to the harm it could (and eventually did) cause.
When I asked Eric to join the band we needed a touring guitar player and he was our first choice. We toured with Eric’s band “The Holophonics” multiple times over the years and were great friends within the Ska scene. He is one of the hardest working musicians in the underground, and is a fountain of knowledge and professionalism in regards to the music business. The skepticism we asked a close friend of ours to join the band in order to prove we are not homophobic is simply not true. When Eric joined the band, I wanted him to feel welcome and included. However, I had built relationships with my bandmates for years. I knew and respected their personal borders in our interactions. This was not the case with Eric, to assume his boundaries in the name of “inclusion” was incorrect, and, in the end, immensely hurtful.
By the time Eric joined, we had been touring for nearly a decade. Touring in a small band means getting very comfortable with each other and not having much personal space due to the lack of privacy. Getting dressed in front of each other had developed to just accepting that we would either be waiting in line to use a bathroom or undressing in front of each other. Multiple times, I used my immature humor in an attempt to make the situation less awkward with all my bandmates. This was a poorly chosen joke without consideration given to Eric’s personal boundaries. My intent was to make him feel more comfortable with being around us. Never did I consider that it would make him feel harassed or targeted.
Eric Daino, I am truly sorry for the pain my actions have caused you to endure. Intent does not equal the outcome. Your pain is real, your anger is real, and your feelings are valid.
I would like to comment on statements made in regards to my mental health. In 2016, we embarked on a 5-week tour with the Holophonics. After one week, I had to cancel the tour due to my mental health declining. This decision was extremely difficult to make due to all the hard work I had put into helping plan the tour, the finances we all had to spend to make it happen and feeling like I was letting two bands down. The decision was made because I was experiencing panic attacks every night, the worst of which resulted in a hospital visit. I felt like I was losing my grasp on reality, as if I was walking through a movie in an out of body experience. Months later I was diagnosed with an illness called Depersonalization. I’ve always been a stressed, anxious and introverted person. I’ve struggled with severe panic attacks my entire adult life but for the most part was able to control them. This incident led to me being prescribed medication which has helped control my mental health. I’ve never used this as an excuse for my behavior because it most definitely is not. I've only opened up to my closest friends and family about my mental illness which is why I am very hurt to have it diagnosed as extreme narcissism and gaslighting by someone I trusted. I only wish it could have been my choice to speak of it publicly.
As much as I’d like to keep this a direct apology to Eric, the events involving Andy George are very much a part of this as well and need to be addressed.
In 2014 we received a Facebook comment from Andy George requesting us to refrain from saying the words bitch and slut as he thought it was misogynistic. He was referring to the song “Get over it”, in which the song begins with a woman stating “Oh my god! This band has horns, that’s fucking stupid” in which then I reply with “Fuck you bitch”.
I thought it was a silly request at the time, not realizing the weight of my words and that it was indeed misogynistic. Years ago, I grew to agree with Andy and haven’t played that song live since. But, in the moment I didn’t agree and took the immature route to bully him in the comment section of a Facebook event. My direct response to Andy’s request was “Fuck you slut”, and it only got worse. I mocked him, made fun of him, and eventually tagged friends to join in. I went as far as to make a meme of Andy using his personal facebook pictures calling him the word “Bitch”. Upon learning he was gay, friends of mine made memes using his personal photos with homophic language. I did nothing to stop or deescalate the harassment. I even liked one of the memes, encouraging this behavior to carry on. I’ve never stopped thinking about this moment. I’m deeply ashamed and regret everything I did. This horrible act really was my fault and is something I am responsible for.
Lastly, I want to state how important I feel it is to respect the feelings of the victims of my abuse. To defend my actions and/or question Eric and Andy’s truth really is wrong. Their feelings and other victims of abuse need to be treated with the utmost respect for the horrible things they’ve gone through. I still am very sorry for what I’ve done, but I won’t hide from it. I will continue to learn from my mistakes and work to become a better person.