The indie band The Neighbourhood—in many a headline these days for lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s budding, controversial romance with Billie Eilish—parted ways with its drummer, Brandon Fried, on Sunday after singer-songwriter María Zardoya of The Marías accused Fried of groping her, via Instagram stories.
“i was at a bar last night, and i was groped under the table by brandon fried @brandonfried_, the drummer of the neighbourhood. It was one of the most uncomfortable things i’ve ever experienced. I felt an invasion of my space, privacy and body,” Zardoya wrote on her story on Saturday. “@thenbhd ya’ll need a new drummer, this guy is a complete creep.”
The Neighbourhood’s response was quick and decisive: “We are grateful to Maria for coming forward. We have zero tolerance for any kind of inappropriate behavior towards women,” the band wrote in a Sunday Instagram story the following day. “As a result of Brandon’s actions, he will no longer be a member of The Neighbourhood.”
Fried has since acknowledged the incident, confirmed that it happened, apologized, and—despite calling his actions “inexcusable and intolerable”—blamed alcoholism: “It is evident that I must address my problems with alcohol and substance abuse, which I am now seeking help for,” he wrote in his own Instagram story. Fried is the group’s second drummer after founding drummer Bryan “Olivver” Sammis left the group in 2014.
I respect how quickly the band moved to dole out consequences for its drummer’s predatory behavior following Zardoya’s public allegation. Fried’s own admission to groping the singer also probably staved off the typical he-said-she-said nonsense that tends to follow sexual misconduct allegations against famous men.
At the present, the band has been facing a good amount of backlash from Eillish’s fans and others who take issue with Rutherford and Eillish’s 11-year age difference—Rutherford is 31, and Eillish is 20. “jesse rutherford was alive during george h w bush’s presidency. billie eilish cannot legally drink,” states one viral tweet posted after the couple was first seen together last month. Part of the outrage also stems from Rutherford knowing Eillish when she was still a teenager. The couple’s baby-and-old-man Halloween couple’s costume didn’t exactly cool the backlash.
Rutherford’s band couldn’t really afford any more controversy, and, surely knowing this, they dealt with Fried expeditiously.