Six counts of sexual assault against a woman have been levelled against musician Rex Orange County, also known as Alexander O’Connor. These six counts allegedly come from a series of incidents with one woman over a period of time in June.
The 24-year-old allegedly assaulted the woman twice in London’s West End on June 1 before assaulting her four more times the following day, including once in a taxi and three times at his Notting Hill residence. O’Connor appeared at Southwark crown court on October 10. He pleaded not guilty to all six charges and was released on unconditional bail.
“Alex is shocked by the allegations, which he denies, and looks forward to clearing his name in court,” a representative for the musician said in a statement released to Variety. “He is unable to make any further comment because of the ongoing proceedings.”
A point of contention for now ex-fans of the artist is the cancellation of the Australia, New Zealand and Europe legs of the Rex Orange County tour, where O’Connor cited “unforeseen personal circumstances” as his reason for cancellation. The artist said he was “having to spend some time at home this year” and would “not be able to continue with touring as planned.”
“This is the last thing I want to do,” O’Connor wrote back in July. “I love touring and I am so sorry to be letting anyone down. I look forward to getting back to it as soon as I can.”
— rex orange county (@rexorangecounty) July 2, 2022
Fans have now taken to Twitter in anger after realizing that O’Connor had to cancel his tour because he was unable to leave the UK as he was awaiting trial. What added to the outrage was that O’Connor, on multiple fronts, presented himself with an aura of joy, calmness and understanding. He was lauded for being a young, raw creative trying to establish his place in the world with songs stuffed with self-acceptance, authenticity and sentiment.
rex orange county cancelling his US tour because of “personal reasons” and those personal reasons being him not being able to leave the country because he will be in a trial for 6 counts of sexual assault is sickening
— ًً (@boyskiIIer) October 10, 2022
This shocking revelation comes in time for the 5 year anniversary of the revolutionary #MeToo movement which brought forth allegations of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and ignited a global outrage over the endurance of workplace sexual harassment.
Millions of women stepped forward with their experiences of harassment at the hands of men in power. The legacy of the #MeToo movement can be felt in several states passing legislation to protect more workers (including independent contractors and domestic workers) from mistreatment. Society has a poor track record of believing accusers (at least when they point a finger at white men). However, the movement’s sense of camaraderie welcomed many women who felt as though complicit parties were stifling their voices. This can be seen in the large number of people who took to Twitter to declare their intention to stop listening to his music, which represents a significant break from the older cultures, which placed a premium on silence and the separation of the artist from their work of art.