Earlier in the year Front Porch Step’s Jake Mcelfresh was accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by several underage girls. A petition started on Change.org states that “There have been multiple cases of Jake Mcelfresh talking to underage girls and sending them vulgar photos. He has been asked to stop by these girls every time and continues with the sexual statements and harassment.” Due to these allegations, the petition requests that Front Porch Steps not be allowed to play this year’s Vans Warped Tour, citing that he would have unlimited access to underage girls who often attend the shows. Warped Tour producer Kevin Lyman addressed the severity of the issue through Twitter and even cut his vacation short so he could deal with the pressing issue, which after months of debate has been resolved. In a recent interview with Billboard, Lyman seemingly sided with Mcelfresh, stating that the incident was not “a real story” and blames it on the “stupidity of the road” which the media and mainstream press blew out of proportion. Lyman also revealed that Mcelfresh had been receiving counseling for the issues behind his actions and that after eight months, MusiCares and the therapists that had been working with him felt that it was time to assimilate him back into the music scene.
In April, Mcelfresh took to Front Porch Step’s Facebook to tell his side of the story, which included brief background of his upbringing. Mcelfresh admitted that not only did he lack a solid family foundation, but that he also had severe self-confidence and body image issues that were a partial cause of his recent actions. As he gained popularity, “receiving messages from all over the world, from people who felt like me. It was nice to know in the world of the Internet – I could never be alone again. Soon, all of a sudden the guy that thinks he is the ugliest dude in the world is being called “hot” and “sexy” by a bunch of women, people who I had never met in person and frankly I was not prepared for it.” Mcelfresh also takes responsibility for his actions, but reminds readers that both texting and private online messages are a “two way street.”
Despite Lyman’s assurance that Mcelfresh only “got himself in a little trouble,” several concertgoers were not happy with Lyman’s decision and felt it their job to let it be known, heckling him during his basement performance this past Wednesday. Even musicians such as Hayley Williams have spoken out against the “amount of pervy/predatory vibes that are surrounding the tour this summer…” and Beartooth’s Taylor Lumley, suggested that “If you have any dignity or respect for this music scene,…” you will boycott Front Porch Step’s set.