Spin has broken a story detailing allegations of sexual assault that have been levied against FYF Fest founder Sean Carlson by four separate women. Earlier this week concert promoter Goldenvoice, who also runs the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, severed their relationship with Carlson for undisclosed reasons. One would now imagine that it had to do with these allegations. There is still some uncertainty as to who holds owns a stake in FYF besides Carlson and what will be the fate of the festival and promotions company of the same name.
The four women each detail incidents wherein Carlson allegedly made inappropriate physical contact with them as well as, despite multiple requests, refused to leave them alone. The first accuser is Natasha Ryan, a freelance photographer, details an event at a music festival in Las Vegas in 2010. She claims that Carlson continually attempted to remove her bra when a group of people were in a hot tub, and then tried to kiss her and take her into a bathroom.
The second accuser (who uses the alias “Beth” to protect her identity) claims that at a house party in Los Angeles in 2013 Carlson sexually assaulted her. She says that at the party she met Carlson and gave him her number, and after a short while he asked her if she wanted to go “make out” in a bathroom. She agreed but went to use the restroom first, towards the back of the house. There, she claims Carlson entered the bathroom and closed the door behind him with his erect penis exposed, asking her to kiss it. “Beth,” says that in an attempt to get out of the situation obliged, but claims that Carlson kept the door closed and would not let her leave. She then alleges that “he lifted up my dress, and his erect penis was touching my butt.” She says that she feared she was about to be raped, but managed to flee the bathroom. She then claims that she was caught by Carlson where she says he pinned her to a couch and tried to kiss her. “Beth” states that a back door closed and startled Carlson, allowing her to get away, where she found a friend and left the party immediately. She eventually filed a police report of the incident but decided not to file charges in order to avoid a month-long ordeal that would have her reliving the experience.
The third accuser, an artist manager, claims she was sexually assaulted by Carlson at two separate incidences at house parties in 2015. First, she claims Carlson kissed without any permission, as she describes it as he “kind of just stuck his tongue down my throat, forcibly made out with me.” The second alleged incident happened a few months later when she says Carlson first attempted to enter a bathroom she was using and then groped and touched her inappropriately during an Uber ride home from a party.
The fourth woman is a publicist who had worked with Carlson for years. She claims that she ran into him and two professional acquaintances at a concert, where they had drinks and chatted. She alleges Carlson got uncomfortably close to her, touching her without permission and eventually attempted to kiss her.
Carlson responded to the accusations in an email to Spin apologizing for his actions and admitting that incident 3 is generally true while incident 4 is true. He claimed that incidents 1 and 2 both contain misstatements and ommissions but were still partially true. Carlson expressed remorse and regret for his actions, explaining that he has taken steps since 2015 to change, seeking therapy and quitting alcohol.
Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG partnered with FYF Fest several years ago to provide promotion and festival logistics for the rapidly expanding festival. FYF (aka Fuck Yeah Festival) was founded by Carlson in 2004 when he was just 18 years old — initially, it was held as a series of concerts in the Echo Park neighborhood along its main drag of Sunset Boulevard. Eventually, the festival moved to Los Angeles State Historic Park near Chinatown, where it experienced severe growing pains: long lines, lack of vendors and water scarcity all threatened to derail the festival before it really got its foot in the door.
Partnering with festival experts Goldenvoice in 2011 allowed the festival to grow into the high-profile event it has become in recent years — just this year saw a lineup that included Nine Inch Nails, Frank Ocean, and Björk, making for one of the best lineups in what has become a staid festival scene. By 2014 the festival had moved to its recent home in Exposition Park south of Downtown Los Angeles, where it reached its most significant sizes yet.