Bassnectar lawsuit alleges sexual abuse, sex trafficking of Tennessee, Kentucky minors

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Bassnectar

DJ Bassnectar performs onstage during the Meadows Music and Arts Festival – Day 3 at Citi Field on September 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

NASHVILLE (WKRN/NewsNation Now) — A lawsuit filed against Bassnectar claims the electronic dance music DJ sexually abused the two plaintiffs, who say the DJ, also known as Lorin Ashton, groomed them for commercial sex acts and got them to send him sexually explicit photos while they were underage.

The suit was filed Monday in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of Rachel Ramsbottom and Alexis Bowling against Ashton, Amorphus Music, Bassnectar Touring, Redlight Management, C3 Presents LLC and Interactive Giving Fund. Both women are seeking “all available” compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants. 

The lawsuit accuses Bassnectar of using “his power and influence to groom and ultimately sexually victimize underage girls.”

The women claim the popular DJ found them through Twitter and continued communicating with them across multiple platforms. He allegedly asked about personal details of their lives and offered advice, including encouraging the girls to watch American Beauty, a movie centered around a middle-aged man having a relationship with his high school daughter’s friend.

The lawsuit also claims Ashton paid the women for “sexual encounters.”

Bassnectar is accused of maintaining control over the plaintiffs through various rules including: keeping the relationship secret, not allowing the women to leave hotel rooms or answer the phone in his hotel room, and demanding they shower before Ashton had unprotected sex with them so that they were “clean.”

The EDM star allegedly required the girls to take sexually explicit photos of themselves and send them to him. These actions were done with Bassnectar knowing both girls were underage, the suit claims.

One of the plaintiffs, Rachel Ramsbottom, said she was first contacted by Bassnectar through Twitter direct message after tweeting about a show cancellation in September 2012. She attended his New Years Eve show in Nashville later that year where she claims Ashton, who knew she was underage at the time, wanted to meet with her the following day. Ramsbottom didn’t meet with him at the time, but Bassnectar provided her his phone number and email address and the two began communicating nearly daily for the next few months.

The lawsuit claims Bassnectar manipulated Ramsbottom and gained her trust by presenting himself as a friend and a mentor, even discussing schoolwork, “Bassnectar would read Rachel’s school assignments and even asked her to write one for him. Bassnectar said the paper he wanted Rachel to write him would take about 4-5 hours.”

The lawsuit describes one instance in 2013 where Bassnectar wanted to celebrate Ramsbottom’s birthday in Nashville and invited her to stay with him at his hotel. Bassnectar allegedly kept her in the hotel room for four days and required the plaintiff to hide when room service arrived and became angry when she answered the phone.

In addition to the sexual abuse detailed in the lawsuit, Bassnectar is accused of being very controlling of Ramsbottom including: advising her on the friends she should have, directing her choice of college major, and pressuring her to change her last name or no one would ever take her seriously.

According to the lawsuit, Ashton and Ramsbottom last met in person in November 2013, but after the “MeToo” movement began in 2016, Bassnectar reached out to check in often and to tell her “you know I love you.”

Ramsbottom finally agreed to speak with Bassnectar in June 2020 when he started reaching out to her incessantly after being publicly exposed, the suit claims. During that call, Ramsbottom confronted Ashton over the previous encounters, saying she was “taken advantage of,” “trafficked,” and what happened between them being “statutory rape.”

The lawsuit goes on to say Bassnectar admitted his abuse of Ramsbottom was “so inappropriate” and his actions were “completely wrong.” Bassnectar allegedly admitted that he engaged with multiple women who were “too young,” and acknowledged in his own words that there was an imbalance of power dynamic due to his age, the fan/celebrity dynamic, his male privilege, and his celebrity privilege.

The suit also claims Bassnectar admitted his conduct was illegal and referenced his risk of going to jail numerous times throughout the conversation with Ramsbottom.

The second plaintiff named in the lawsuit, Alexis Bowling, claims Bassnectar paid for and flew the Kentucky resident all over the country to see him on tour, but would make her stay in his hotel room the entire time. Bassnectar would reportedly have sex with Bowling during these visits, which occurred in 10 different states from 2014-2016.

Ashton allegedly contacted Bowling in June 2020 and told her about allegations of a music teacher of his in high school having sexual contact with a minor. The lawsuit claims Bassnectar told Bowling what they had was nothing like that situation and telling her how special she was to him and he would “always love her.”

In July 2020, Bassnectar announced he was stepping back from his career to “take responsibility and accountability” after allegations of sexual abuse. “The rumors you are hearing are untrue, but I realize some of my past actions have caused pain and I am deeply sorry,” he stated in a post on his Facebook page.

NewsNation Now reached out to Mitchell Schuster, Bassnectar’s attorney. Schuster denied all allegations, “These outrageous claims – which were clearly designed for the media, rather than for the courts – are completely without merit, and we eagerly look forward to proving so.”

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