Langston Francis Dropped By Label Following Sexual Assault Allegations
This article has been updated since it was first published.
Up-and-coming Canadian singer Langston Francis apologized Tuesday, less than six hours after iHeartRadio.ca reported on allegations of sexual assault from several young women and a public campaign to strip him of his record deal.
Just before 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sony Music told iHeartRadio.ca it has removed Francis from its roster.
"To anyone who I may have hurt with my behaviour, I'm sorry," Francis wrote in a message he shared via Instagram. "I'm pressing pause on my music career and taking an indefinite break from social media in order to reflect and consider what further actions I need to take to work on these personal issues."
It is the first time Francis, 19, has addressed the accusations against him.
Francis did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. None of the allegations against him have been tested in a court and he has not been charged with a crime.
His songs include “Fall From Grace,” “FCKD It Up” and “Throw It Away.” On his latest single “Waste My Time,” Francis sings: “Pop a pill and get high / Another hit and I'm high / Boy she worth the drama / She a young Madonna / Every guy here looking, no one ever gets her number / No, I can't control her / She bad and she knows yah.”
“I have continually said he is a sexual abuser and rapist for years,” alleged Lauren Kidd, an 18-year-old Queen’s University student. "For the past four years I have been advocating for people to stop supporting him.”
Kidd, who attended Toronto’s Rosedale Heights School of the Arts with Francis, told iHeartRadio.ca that her experience dates back to a Grade 10 house party she hosted.
“We started to kiss and he wanted to do more. I said ‘no, I’m not ready, I don’t want to.’ He forced himself on to me for the whole night and did things that I did not want to,” she alleged. “He did things while I told him to stop. I was 15 and also very drunk.”
Kidd said she never stopped sharing her story – and discovered other young women had similar ones. “Sadly, I was not surprised,” she said. “Compared to other women I had it easy.”
While acknowledging that sexual assault can be difficult to prove, Kidd said she wants Francis to be held accountable. “If I was asked to speak [to law enforcement], I would gladly,” she said.
Kidd is one of thousands of people who added their names to a change.org petition that called for Sony Music Canada to sever ties with Francis.
Launched by a “Jane Doe,” the petition reads: “Langston Francis is a notorious sexual abuser. Over the past several years, he has been accused of numerous cases of sexual assault and coercion. In the last 24 hours, many women have come forward, including minors, publicly and anonymously detailing the horrifying abuse they have encountered at the hands of Langston Francis.
"This is not someone who should be given a platform, especially one with a fanbase of young girls. We urge Sony to conduct a proper investigation and take the appropriate actions necessary and break all ties with him.”
Sony Music Canada has done exactly that.
Auteur Research, which was contracted by Sony Music Canada to promote Francis' new single, deleted Francis from its website. "We will not be working with Langston Francis in the future," spokesperson Adam Bentley told iHeartRadio.ca.
Francis was also removed Tuesday from the website of the Paradigm Talent Agency and Roots, which showcased the singer in a 2018 campaign, has removed all pages featuring the singer from its website.
Roots deleted a page on its website featuring Langston Francis.
Anastacia Berridge-Carter, 18, took to Instagram Stories to allege Francis sexually assaulted her the summer before she began high school.
“I got invited to a party and later in the night I went for a walk to the park down the street to get some fresh air,” Berridge-Carter recalled. “As I got to the park I noticed Langston had been walking behind me. We started talking and then he started to push himself on me.
“I began to cry and couldn’t stop. Even though I was crying my eyes out and saying ‘no’ he just would not stop. I felt so disgusted.”
Berridge-Carter said she had to see Francis in three of the her daily classes during her first year of high school. She claimed he downplayed the alleged incident and made her feel responsible. “He even convinced friends of mine that I was the one to blame.”
It was not, she claimed, the only time Francis sexually assaulted her.
Anastacia Berridge-Carter shared her story via Instagram Stories.
Berridge-Carter told iHeartRadio.ca: "After Langston raped me I felt as if I didn’t have a voice to share my story, then through his manipulation at school I felt as if my story wasn’t valid." She accused him of convincing her friends she was to blame. "That really closed me off from telling people anything about it. I started to blame myself."
Her message to Francis is simple. "I would tell him I hope he really understands all the pain he’s caused me and so many other women and girls," said Berridge-Carter. "Even after years I still have very bad PTSD and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I hope he really takes into account how much pain he has caused."
Julia Haronitis, who met Francis through a friend, claimed he sexually assaulted her on several occasions in 2016 – at her 16th birthday party in her home, in the bathroom of a friend’s house, and at a beach.
“Every time very forceful. I had said ‘no’ multiple times,” Haronitis, 20, told iHeartRadio.ca. “I would tell my friends after every altercation with him that he would force himself on me but being young and uneducated they brushed it off and told me that it wasn’t true.”
Haronitis and Berridge-Carter don't think much of the statement Francis posted on Instagram on Tuesday afternoon.
"He was aware of his actions long before these accusations became public," said Haronitis. "A single page of an apology and leaving social media is cowardly and weak. He has ruined so many young girls' lives. He’s taken the easy way out.
"If he was truly sorry that apology would have been 10 pages long and exhibited way more expressions of remorse."
Berridge-Carter said she is “pretty appalled that that’s all he said.”
She added: “He didn’t even recognize or admit to his wrongs. Instead he tries to excuse his actions by the fact they were when he was younger.”
Berridge-Carter takes issue with Francis blaming his behaviour on personal issues. “I don’t doubt he has them but it’s not an excuse for this actions,” she said. “He should acknowledge his wrongs.”
More and more women are sharing their experiences with Canadian music artists in online forums and on social media.
Earlier this month, Simple Plan bassist David Desrosiers announced he was leaving the band due to allegations against him from several women.
“Recent public statements have led me to acknowledge that some of the interactions I have had with women have caused them harm,” he wrote in a message on Instagram. “I have decided to withdraw from the band and seek professional help to educate myself and act appropriately in the future.
“I am truly sorry for the harm I have caused to these women.”
In June, Justin Bieber responded to sexual assault allegations against him by filing a defamation lawsuit against the “Jane Does,” identified as Danielle and Kadi on social media, for $10 million U.S. each. Bieber believes the two accounts might be the same person.
The filings claim Danielle’s allegation of sexual assault in 2014 and Kadi’s allegation of one in 2015 are “outrageous, fabricated lies.”
In recent weeks, Quebec music artists Alex Nevsky, Yann Perreau, Bernard Adamus and Kevin Parent have faced allegations of sexual misconduct. Nevsky was suspended from his label and Perreau was dropped from his.
“I’m discovering, at 34, that some of my behaviours are abusive,” admitted Nevsky, in an Instagram post written in French. "I’m learning what sexual coercion is.” Adamus acknowledged, in a French message: “Too often I was vulgar, rude, arrogant and very drunk. I admit I was aggressive in what I said and in my behaviour ... To all the women who I offended, I profoundly apologize.”
Next January, Jacob Hoggard of Canadian band Hedley goes on trial on charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference. Two women came forward in 2018 with allegations against the singer.
Matthew Anningson, a friend of Langston Francis, writes, records and mixes music under the moniker Mrtha. An online profile describes the 19-year-old from Toronto as “a multi-instrumentalist, producer and vocalist.”
Ray Rowe has alleged Anningson sexual assaulted her in his home on July 10.
“He asked if I wanted to come over to his house to make a beat [and] being familiar with his music I obliged,” recalled the 20-year-old University of Guelph student, in an Instagram Story. “After spending a few hours working on the song … he asked to watch Netflix instead. He put his hands down my pants, he went [in] for a kiss… This is not what I came to his house to do.
“He would ask permission AFTER the fact or not at all. I did not feel comfortable saying no. I did not feel safe saying no… he continued to pressure me.”
Matthew Anningson, a friend of Langston Francis, is also facing an accusation. Facebook
Rowe, who creates music as Spacerayy, said in Instagram livestream: “Matthew did not rape me but that doesn’t matter. We did not have intercourse but we had sexual relations that I did not consent to and that I didn’t want and that I said ‘no’ to but was pressured and coerced into.”
Rowe shared screen captures of text messages she claimed are from Anningson. (iHeartRadio.ca confirmed the number displayed belongs to Anningson, who did not respond to a call seeking comment.)
In one, he told Rowe: “I feel as though I may have acted out of place and put you in a position where it was hard to say no to me wether (sic) I realized it or not. If you would like to talk to me I’d like to work through this problem with you by listening.
“I want to make sure that I did not make you feel pressured into saying yes or saying that you were okay in the moment and if that is the case please feel free to tell me if you are comfortable doing so.”
Rowe alleged that before Anningson sexual assaulted her, he claimed he was going to expose Francis for his alleged sexual misconduct. (One woman who wanted to remain anonymous wrote to Rowe alleging that Anningson “wouldn’t stop asking for me, him, and Langston Francis to have a threesome.”)
In one of his text messages, Anningson agreed when Rowe told him he needs to get help.
“You are completely right, I do need to be stopped and yes it is people like Langston Francis that need to be held accountable for their actions but it is also people like me,” he purportedly wrote. “I do not deny any of the stories that people share and I thank you and everyone else for the bravery in coming forward. I am truly sorry for how I made you feel.”
Rowe told iHeartRadio.ca she did not hesitate to go public. “I was never reluctant nor do I regret anything. I posted my story to warn and protect other girls,” she said. “I opened a can of worms I didn’t expect but I am so grateful that my story is allowing other women to be more open about their own sexual assault, especially the women with assault that isn’t so obvious, like the one I endured.
“Hopefully through all of this, there is healing for all the victims.”
EDUCATION IS KEY
Lauren Kidd is hopeful women speaking up will bring about real change.
"Langston is a problem but it goes so much further. It goes to the root, education. It goes to learning how to speak up,” she said. “Most of all I hope we end the acceptance of sexual assault.
“I also hope young guys will be educated more. We should educate our youth on what it is to consent and how to say ‘no,” along with teaching boundaries and the effects of sexual assault. I believe that if more people were educated on consent that there would be less sexual assault stories.”