Echosmith Drummer Graham Sierota Criticized After DMing Travis Barker’s 13-Year-Old Daughter
Earlier this week, the 20-year-old drummer made headlines after Alabama Barker shared screenshots of messages he'd allegedly sent her in 2016 when she was just 10 years old. The DMs include him saying "Hi" at least three times before introducing himself and telling her he thought she was "beautiful." Alabama never responded to his advances until this year, when he messaged her again to invite her to a party at his house.
"Ur like 40," Alabama wrote back before Sierota replied, "I just wanted to say I really like your music and sorry for messaging and I'm 20."
"OK but u understand I'm a child?" she answered back. She then went on to post the screenshots on her Instagram Story alongside the caption: "Hey guys! So once again I am bringing this to your attention because I'm a 13-year-old girl and he is 21/20 super creepy."
Soon after she shared the messages online, Alabama's dad, Travis, spoke out about the situation. He revealed he felt "disgusted" by what he saw, adding that Sierota's "predatory behavior" was unacceptable.
“When I found out a 20-year-old man was trying to get in touch with my 13-year-old daughter by filling her Instagram messages with party invites and compliments I was disgusted. That’s predatory behavior and there is nothing cool, normal or [okay] about it at all,” the Blink-182 drummer told The Blast.
Sierota has since apologized in a statement to the outlet, explaining, “I had invited Alabama to my parents’ big family BBQ along with many other people, and it wasn’t until she responded that I realized her age at which point I apologized to her. I’m really sorry and feel very badly about this."
"I didn’t realize she was a minor and assumed she was my age," he continued. "I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologize again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family.”
It also looks like Alabama has forgiven him and wants to move on from all this drama. In an Instagram Story posted on Thursday night (August 1), she wrote: “Hey guys! I am posting on behalf of the Echosmith! He had dmed me a while back in 2016 and then once again in July saying I was beautiful and invited me to a bbq at his house. He is very sorry about the situation and regretful I forgive him and would like for this all to be over.”
On Friday (August 2), the Sierota family addressed the incident in a press statement which revealed Graham was diagnosed with autism, and has "difficulty understanding social cues."
See their full statement, below:
We have never publicly addressed this in the past, but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations of Graham. As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues.
Graham’s challenges have always been a non-issue in our family. In fact, it is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is. His outlook on life inspires us every day. He’ll be the first one to say “today is gonna be the best day ever,” or, “you’re my best friend and you look amazing today.” He sees the world as the happiest place, where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included.
One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us “Graham reached out on social media and invited us!” Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world.
We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
As a family, we will continue to work with him to have the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilize social media while he takes a break from it.
We hope anyone who’s been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies.
~ Sydney, Noah, Graham, Linda and Jeffery