I’m not saying this to be smug… but …didn’t we always know that Ryan Adams was a douchebag? From way back in 2008, when he and Mandy Moore first broke up. At the time, supposedly, he couldn’t handle all the attention. So he released a statement to the tabloids explaining why he broke up with her. Because that’s what someone who doesn’t want attention does when he’s dumps his girlfriend. This is what he said:
"Mandy is one of those genuinely sweet angelic people you wish to meet your whole life. I am grateful for our friendship and how it allowed us both to grow and learn more.
Unfortunately I am allergic to paparazzi and have found the best antidote to that sort of nonsense is staying behind the guitar and typewriter, staying close to my support group of friends and band mates and not engaging in activities that prevent me from taking care of myself or others. I found the entire speculation and subsequent photographs and intrusions terrifying and only wish to live as normal a life as possible, so that I might always remain punk as f*ck AND sober.”
Like I said, isn’t the active pursuit of being “punk as f-ck” the very antithesis of being punk as f-ck?”
That was July 2008. By February 2009 they were engaged after he posted a secret message to her on his website. This was the secret message:
Top 10 Ways to be a Gentlemen
1. shut up and listen to her
2. stand by her, don't run
3. say you are sorry while you have the chance
4. hold her hand, be thankful for her, ignore the cameras, and lose yourself in the girl not the game
don't be a fool, stand by your girl
I miss you bug
These are song lyrics that the songwriter doesn’t actually live. And now The New York Times has published a damning report about the ways in which Ryan Adams manipulated women, using this talent and success to get close to them and manipulate them and, in some cases, control them. Mandy Moore was one of them. As were Phoebe Bridgers, his most recent ex, Megan Butterworth, and Courtney Jay. There’s also a woman, “Ava”, who’s now 20 but tells the NYT she was being online groomed by Ryan starting when she was 14 years old, then already a talented, aspiring musician. All of which he denies. Of course he does.
Because of her experience with Ryan, Ava’s no longer performing. Courtney looks back on that time and says that, “Something changed in me that year. It made me just not want to make music.” And Mandy too reveals that her creativity was stifled by Ryan, that he continually shut down her ambitions, and that his “controlling behavior essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s.”
It’s like Louis CK. The people who insist on defending Louis CK fall back on the defence that he never actually touched the women he harassed, that he’s not as bad at Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves. That the trauma of his victims is not the same as someone who’s been physically violated. But, as it was with Mandy and Courtney and Ava with Ryan, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov told the NYT that after what happened with Louis, they “took themselves out of the running for the many projects he was involved in”. Several women quit comedy entirely because of Louis CK.
This, too, is loss. And this kind of loss is also its own trauma – it’s the loss of opportunity, of possibility, of potential; it’s having to give up on your goals, of having to reimagine your life, not by choice; in the case of the women who feel emotionally abused by Ryan Adams, it’s the loss of confidence in who you are, the loss of self-esteem, the loss of knowing oneself. It’s an erasure of identity because he decided that his identity was more important than theirs and deliberately set about to enforce it. Isn’t that a kind of violence?
In the summer of 2016, before This Is Us had even premiered, it was the most highly-anticipated network debut of the year. I wrote then that this would be Mandy Time. It’s no coincidence that as soon as she was able to cut that sh-t from her life, everything else turned around, even though he tried to break her. He almost broke her. Isn’t that a kind of violence?
Mandy’s spending the capital that she’s accumulated in the time since and coming forward to tell her story, to share it with the others she knows who were in the same position. How many more read the NYT yesterday and could relate to every word, whether it was Ryan Adams or someone else?
Yours in gossip,