Beach Slang have split after allegations of emotional and psychological abuse against singer Alex James were made by the band’s former long-time manager. Alex has also entered an inpatient treatment facility.
The leader of the Philadelphia band known for their emotional, heart-on-sleeve pop-punk songs was accused on Twitter Jan. 5 by former manager Charlie Lowe of “constant emotional, psychological & narcissistic abuse” at the hands of Alex for what she described as “years.”
Lowe tweeted that the persona Alex cultivated as “too-kind-to-be-true” hid what she claimed was “truly the most selfish horrible person I will ever meet.” As a result, she said, she was diagnosed with C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from how he allegedly treated her. In subsequent tweets, Lowe cursed Alex for “using me as his g–damn personal servant, on tour & not. For making sure I was always so financially f–ked with no other options. For being a textbook narcissist abuser. For making me feel so worthless & alone.”
In a lengthy statement on Beach Slang’s Instagram account attributed to Alex’s family, they said the singer has suffered from a “lifetime of suicidal ideation,” and that his musical persona was intended as a type of coping mechanism to overcome what they said was “unimaginable childhood trauma, violent physical, sexual and emotional abuse and years of untreated resultant mental health issues.”
The statement reads in part:
James is not perfect, and never claimed to be. After a lifetime of suicidal ideation, Beach Slang was simply intended to be an outlet of positivity in rock and roll, and an attempt to heal himself and any sad or broken friends he met along the way. His ‘fake music persona’ wasn’t some facade derived with malice to dupe or harm anyone, it was a coping mechanism created to overcome his struggles.
Yes he had moments of compulsiveness, emotional instability, and chaotic relationships, but none of his actions were intentional or meant to hurt or harm anyone, certainly not those who cared for or believed in him. They were an unfortunate result of unimaginable childhood trauma, violent physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and years of untreated resultant severe mental health issues.
James is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia, and now Borderline Personality Disorder. This is not to invalidate or negate anyone’s feelings, or experiences, it is only to explain the unexplained or unseen cause to the effects, as the internet can be very black and white, and mental illness is largely a grey area.
While mental illness does not excuse anyone to cause others emotional duress, it should at least be acknowledged that it may cause one to unknowingly hurt others and themselves with their words and actions.
(Read the full statement on Instagram.)
The family’s note also says that Alex had just started treatment before the allegations were lodged, and after attempting suicide, is currently in an in-patient program, where he is “getting the help he needs and will be on a true path to recovery.” Those close to him also added that those close to him tried to help him, but “the help he needed was beyond the scope of family or friends with good intentions.”
For now, the statement adds, Beach Slang is over and Alex has no plans to return to music. “He would just like the opportunity for forgiveness, compassion, and understanding, or if not, to be forgotten so everyone involved can move on with peace in their lives,” it concludes. “To those who have supported, played in, or worked with Beach Slang, thank you for your time, dedication, and love. For those who can no longer do that, you can know it was still appreciated when you did, but understood if you now cannot.”
On Tuesday (Jan. 12), a spokesperson for the band’s former label, Polyvinyl Records, issued a statement supporting those speaking out about their interactions with Alex. “Polyvinyl stands in solidarity with those who have come forward about their experiences with James Alex of Beach Slang,” it reads. “We have begun the process of discontinuing our involvement in the sale and distribution of Beach Slang and Quiet Slang releases. We have said it before and it bears repeating: Our company operates on the core principle that everyone deserves to be treated with fairness and respect. Active accountability builds safer and healthier communities.”
In a tweet Jan. 11 responding to the statement from Alex’s family, Lowe questioned its sincerity, noting that it contains “no apology whatsoever nor does it mention me at all, effectively silencing me as the victim & putting the spotlight right back on James for sympathy.” Lowe also said she plans to launch bi-weekly free online seminars for survivors and psychological educators to share their knowledge and experiences.
After forming in Philadelphia in 2013 with Alex as the lead singer and songwriter, Beach Slang released four studio albums, including 2020’s The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City, as well as half a dozen EPs and projects from side project Quiet Slang. No official statement from Beach Slang was available at press time, and some of the band’s social media accounts appear to have been deleted.
See Lowe’s allegations below.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for free and confidential support 24/7.