Escuela Grind

Escuela Grind Issue New Statement Regarding Allegations Made By Their Former Bus Driver & Tour Manager


A newly issued statement from Escuela Grind finds the band weighing in on some of the recent controversies that have enveloped the group. Last month saw the band eject their guitarist Tom Sifuentes, which according to the musician, took place after he voiced safety concerns over his hearing. As he revealed, the band were not receptive to his complaints, leading to his ouster.

In the wake of that firing, a former driver employed by the band, Destiny Hopper, publicly came forward with allegations of repeated sexual harassment being committed against her by a tour manager the band was employing at the time, Chris Cotter.

Hopper also alleged that that full payment was never received for the time she spent driving the band on tour and that the work environment was generally toxic. She also alleged that certain members of the band weren’t sincere in certain aspects of their endeavors of supporting the LGBTQ+ scene.

A follow-up statement issued by the band’s guitarist Krissy Morash in response to Hopper‘s post claimed that her skills as a driver were not up to standard, with Morash at one point speaking of Hopper‘s “incompetence.”

In the wake of all this controversy, photos of drummer Jesse Fuentes being involved with freemasonry, a photo of vocalist Katerina Economou attending an apparent gala event in the presence of former first lady Laura Bush, and a screen cap of a social media post allegedly made by Fuentes admitting his use of homophobic and racial slurs in the past resurfaced online.

A week or two later, the band’s aforementioned former tour manager Chris Cotter, issued an apologetic statement regarding the allegations made against him by Hopper through his lawyer. You can catch up on most of that, including the aforementioned statements issued from the parties involved, at this location.

Today, March 07th, the band themselves weighed in on the controversy, offering:

“We have publicly stayed quiet about the conflict between our previous driver and previous tour manager. We felt it best to first let them each have their say.

The band faced challenges during a six-week tour where we were responsible for many supporting bands. We hired a full crew for the very first time. Mistakes were made in the hiring process, ultimately causing issues the core members had never experienced before on a tour.

Ultimately, we made mistakes. We tried to do what we thought was best, and in the end it wasn’t. We did not know about the personal issues between our former driver and TM until they posted about it online. We immediately parted ways with him. We failed, but we have learned.

Our driver quit on their own terms. They were not abandoned. They chose to go when they did, and we did not know about their plans. Their flight was nonrefundable and non-changeable. The driver was paid in cash weekly. We mailed a check to them for their final week so that we had proper proof of receipt and deposit. We have many receipts of us trying to get in touch with them to pay them through alternative methods like Venmo, etc.

We take blame for not making our expectations clearer and properly vetting our driver.

There was never a moment where either the TM or driver approached us about the concerns they presented in their statements. If approached, we would have acted on this information immediately. Absolutely nothing verbal nor physical was observed in the times we were present. There was never a moment where our TM seriously expressed that he was uncomfortable with the jokes being made on tour. Jokes and nicknames were created just like any other tour. The TM encouraged and instigated many of these jokes, and it appears he is trying to absolve himself of wrongdoing by misrepresenting facts, while still admitting to his inappropriate behavior towards our former driver.

We understand that we let our fans down over the last weeks with our inability to address this situation directly and that has been difficult. Thank you for bearing with us. Bands work in environments where social boundaries are constantly crossed. It seems like a paradox; to find the balance between having a crazy fun tour and being strait-laced professionals. We are working through our growing pains.

This is our final statement on this matter. We now focus on moving forward, and working to be the best we can be at all times. We love y’all always.”

A follow-up caption on that statement from the band read as follows:

“TL;DR: Addressing recent claims. Our previous driver chose to leave and was not abandoned. We tried to pay them but they were unreachable. We fired our former tour manager despite his claims. No complaints of the issues raised in either TM or driver’s statements were raised during the tour. TM participated in jokes and banter, now falsely accusing to deflect. Tour dynamics challenged by balance between professionalism and fun. Mistakes made in crew hiring process. We take full responsibility for our inability to manage situation and vetting process. Much love and gratitude from Escuela Grind.”

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