Today was an important day in the life of Lloyd Roberts.
Nearly two months after allegations of illegal and inappropriate behaviour swept across the internet, the former Neck Deep guitarist has today been cleared of all wrongdoing by North Wales Police.
As far as the authorities are concerned, Lloyd has no case to answer. As far as the authorities are concerned, Lloyd has done nothing illegal. As far as the authorities are concerned, that’s the end of it.
Sadly, it’s not. As a direct result of these allegations, Lloyd Roberts has seen a huge chunk of his life disappear. He’s left a job that he loved and worked hard for, he’s had to sit and watch as thousands of complete strangers dragged his reputation through the mud based on mere hearsay, and he’s had to do it all while trying to raise a child and support a family that depended on his work in Neck Deep to keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths.
Before we go any further, it’s perhaps worth pointing out that only Lloyd and his accuser will ever know what truly happened. There are two sides to every story, after all. However, what this does all seem to point to is that the process by which somebody was accused, in turn judged and quite possibly slandered without any evidence being presented whatsoever, is wrong.
It’s also worth pointing out that the police were only involved in the matter because Lloyd requested they step in. He wasn’t accused of anything in court by a lawyer, but on social media, arguably the most dangerous, unchecked and frankly uncontrollable platform available.
This was a campaign spread solely online – in public – and with no evidence submitted to the police to support it. It’s a dangerous process that is becoming incredibly frequent. Even if you hate somebody’s band, these are real people and these are serious accusations. These need to be treated as such, because the damage done by them can in some cases never be undone.
Let’s also not forget that in recent years some unspeakable things have happened. We have seen crimes and behaviour exposed from within music that make grown adults cry. Sick, evil, unfathomable acts have come to light, and we must collectively ensure that these are NEVER again allowed to happen.
We at Rock Sound feel that responsibility stronger than most. We take our position very seriously – one of influence and example – and we will never shy away from it. It is our duty to stand up for you, to listen to you, to support you, and to take a stand alongside you when any wrongdoing is exposed to the proper authorities.
But it’s up to you to handle things the right way, and to consider exactly what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
It’s not our job to tell anybody how to feel. Some victims of abuse don’t feel that they can stand up and say, ‘I am a victim.’ We understand and appreciate that. However, if you feel that you can speak out, go to the police, go to somebody you can trust, and deal with the issue in a manner that makes you feel safe and comfortable. That is how people truly see justice.
Furthermore, it is a reality that some people in various positions of fame and influence – be it music or anything else – abuse their positions. This is undeniable, and it is unacceptable. We will not tolerate or protect any human being who does this. We will help bring them to justice in any way we can.
However, we will also not sit by and watch people ruin the lives and careers of others for the whole world to see. We as a species spent centuries burning people at the stake amid nothing more than accusations of witchcraft. In 2015, we must not adopt modern ways of doing this same thing.
It is too late for Lloyd, but perhaps there are positives to be taken from this situation, namely that in future we as a community will not be so rash in our judgement, nor in the ways in which we accuse and judge people of incredibly serious crimes and activities.
Take care of yourselves and take care of each other, but also be very, very careful how you see fit to act and accuse those you believe have done wrong. Because if you get it wrong, there is very often no undoing the damage.
We must ensure that we never, ever allow the same thing that's unfolded in this case to happen again.
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