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Avi Buffalo and Ian Svenonius labels withdraw music over abuse claims

By | Published on Friday 31 July 2020

Avi Buffalo

Sub Pop has withdrawn the catalogue of Avi Buffalo, following accusations of rape by a former bandmate. Meanwhile, Merge Records has done the same with its catalogue of Ian Svenonius releases after he admitted to being “completely inappropriate to women”.

The allegations against Avi Buffalo – real name Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg – were made by Rebecca Coleman of the duo Pageants. In a statement on the Pageants Instagram profile earlier this week, she said that both assaults took place while she was a member of Zahner-Isenberg’s band.

She concludes her statement by saying: “Upon my exit from the band [in 2010] I signed a contract not to talk negatively about Avi/Avi Buffalo etc. I do not know if this contract still stands, but honestly, I do not give a fuck. Time’s Up”.

In a statement to Pitchfork, Sub Pop – which released Avi Buffalo’s first two albums, 2010’s ‘Avi Buffalo’ and 2014’s ‘At Best Cockold’ – said that it was “unaware” of any contract between Zahner-Isenberg and Coleman, adding: “After hearing about a rape accusation that was shared yesterday, Sub Pop is in the process of removing all Avi Buffalo music from our stores and digital services”.

“We do not accept sexual abuse and assault towards anybody and we commend anyone who is able to muster up the strength to speak out and share their experiences; that’s not easy”, it went on. “We believe and support Rebecca and hope that she is able to cope and heal”.

Meanwhile, Merge Records has also announced that it is withdrawing its releases by Ian Svenonius’s Escape-ism project, after he published and then deleted a statement on social media admitting to being “completely inappropriate with women”.

Svenonius wrote: “I want to use this forum to say that I support people speaking out for the eradication of abusive predatory modes and also that I am absolutely one of the guilty parties. That, through my narcissism, egotism, and thoughtlessness, I have acted the creep. That I have made people I cared about and respected feel terrible, have been completely inappropriate to women”.

“To anyone I have made feel bad or uncomfortable, I sincerely apologise and throw myself at your mercy”, he went on.” I always believed that I was a revolutionary and now my revolutionary act is self-immolation”.

Following this, Merge – which released 2017’s ‘Introduction To Escape-ism’ and 2018’s ‘The Lost Record’ – said in a statement: “Merge Records has severed ties with Ian Svenonius moving forward, and we are pulling his catalogue from our webstore, physical distributors, and streaming/download services”.

It went on: “The information and allegations surrounding Ian’s post last Friday have been illuminating and disheartening. We see and stand with all those who have come forward and all those who haven’t, and we will continue working and listening to do our part in making the music community one that is safer and more inclusive for everyone”.

Neither Zahner-Isenberg nor Svenonius have commented publicly following the statements from their respective record labels. Avi Buffalo’s social media accounts have been deleted.