Michael Clifford of 5 Seconds of Summer has been the latest to defend himself against sexual assault allegations. A Twitter user, who claimed to have been 14 at the time of the assault, said that Clifford came into the crowd and touched her inappropriately after 5SOS's set ended while they were on tour with One Direction in 2013. Clifford has since said that the allegations were untrue as he was never allowed in the crowd, for safety reasons.
The accuser has since come forward again to recant their statement. "Today, I found out that I have been wrong for almost seven years. ... My offender IS NOT MICHAEL CLIFFORD. HE NEVER TOUCHED ME, HE NEVER SAID THOSE THINGS TO ME. He's innocent. I know there's literally nothing I can do to change what I said yesterday and I wish, with my whole heart, there was a way to erase everything," the Twitter user wrote.
On June 26, the band posted to address the allegations, making it clear that it was their choice, and they were going against the wishes of their management company, Modest! Management.
"We are posting this against the advice of our team," the band shared from their Twitter account. "We, as a band, didn't feel it was the right time for a tour announcement. We felt it was much more important to address false accusations first, but we were told not to comment. We are done being silent."
"We stand with all victims of [sexual assault]," they continued. "Just because it wasn't us doesn't mean it didn't happen. We will be working even harder to ensure fans are safe at our shows. Our connection with our fans is more important to us than anything in this world."
It didn't take long for fans to thank the group for their words, and also to say "f--k Modest!."
Why is Modest! Management getting hate from the 5SOS Fam?
In order to understand why Twitter is condemning Modest!, we first need to look at their history with One Direction. According to Modest!'s website, they are still One Direction's managers. However, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne have all individually parted ways with Modest! to advance their solo careers.
Widely, though, Directioners aren't a big fan of the company, and a lot of that stems from their understanding of the control the group faced during their rise to fame. For one thing, Liam spoke on This Morning about how the band was forced to record their albums on the road, as the management company had already sold tour tickets, putting a great deal of stress and time constraints on the young men.
Around the same time that he was on This Morning, he also joined Andy Cohen for a game of Never Have I Ever. When asked if he'd ever gotten into a fight with his manager, Liam drank quickly.
Zayn Malik has often been candid about the stress he faced as a One Direction member and about his battle with anxiety. He's also opened up about how he developed an eating disorder while in the band.
"I didn’t feel like I had control over anything else in my life, but food was something I could control, so I did,” he wrote in his autobiography. “I had lost so much weight I had become ill. The workload and the pace of life on the road put together with the pressures and strains of everything going on within the band had badly affected my eating habits.”
Directioners also took issue with the images each other boys were being portrayed as, especially considering how young they were. One of the biggest problems was with Harry, who was often depicted as a womanizer, despite having only been 16 when the band formed.
Directioners and the 5SOS Fam, as well as Mixers, are commending 5SOS for going against management.
Modest! manages One Direction, 5SOS, and Little Mix, who also had a rather big issue with their management in 2019 that resulted in them having to change record labels. So, for fans who already despised the management company for their work with Little Mix and One Direction, reading that they had wanted 5SOS to just never address the sexual assault allegations was kind of the last straw.
And it may have been for 5SOS too as it appears that the band's Twitter account, as well as the band members' individual accounts, have unfollowed Modest!.
If you need support, The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. You will be connected with a trained staff member in your area. Or visit RAINN.org to chat online with a support specialist at any time.