Former Of Mice & Men / Attack Attack! musician Austin Carlile has been publicly accused of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. With these accusations, Alternative Press Magazine revealed they had investigated the claims against Carlile, only to shelve a story based on their investigation for "legal purposes."

The accusations against Carlile were widely circulated following a Twitter thread by Jonathan Stiffler, the husband of one of the singer's accusers. The comments came in response to an article published by Alternative Press covering Carlile's June 4 Tweet concerning the media, the Black Lives Matter movement and Covid-19 where the singer proclaimed that "Jesus is coming back soon."

Stiffer wrote, "A few years back, realizing the extent of the damage done, I organized a group of women (MANY) who had been raped or sexually assaulted by @austincarlile over the years to be interviewed by @AltPress. I knew him personally, I worked in the scene & I married one of his victims."

“These women sat & told @AltPress in gruesome detail their accounts of rape at his hands. There's so many victims. I sat in on a few of these conversations & I know they were told about the assaults by the women themselves. Multiple women. I still have the messages between us all. After months of interviewing victims and putting together the story, right before it was going to run - @AltPress killed it because they were open to being sued by Austin and his lawyers. This was devastating. So many recounted their worst memories and for what?”

"Today, I saw his article in @AltPress," he continued. "I don't even have words. I'm shocked and disgusted that they would give a man that they know is a serial rapist that opportunity? Them killing the story was bad enough, but to let him espouse his 'faith' on their platform was heinous. So, @AltPress owes us answers. Hell, they don't owe us answers - they owe that group of women answers as to why they did this. Why they gave this truly disgusting excuse for a person a platform for his 'faith.' I never thought I'd see this. I'm sick. They knew what he is.”

Caitlyn Stiffler, Jonathan's wife, went on to share her story publicly on social media:

Later on June 8, Alternative Press tweeted, “For legal purposes regarding the Austin Carlile accusations, the story couldn’t run as told. As a female-led, lgbtq+ editorial staff, we’re going to reopen this & find the answers you’re looking for. We do not condone any of the accusations & this story WILL be heard."

Twitter: AltPress

The tweet backfired, however, with readers demanding answers about why Alternative Press continued to cover Carlile in a positive light despite collecting various stories detailing the alleged rape and sexual assault. Alternative Press now seems to have deleted all their articles covering Austin Carlile from August 2017 - June 2020.

Of Mice & Men wrote an official statement, claiming this was the first time they heard of Alternative Press’ investigation:

Of Mice & Men's Alan Ashby tweeted separately:

Caleb Shomo, Beartooth's frontman and Carlile’s former bandmate in Attack Attack!, tweeted:

Shomo’s wife also spoke out:

Jonathan Stiffler then retweeted a screenshot claiming many women shared their stories of being raped or assaulted by Carlile, adding that what has already been made public is just the “tip of the iceberg:"

On June 10, Alternative Press wrote a message to their readers and offered an apology to the alleged victims whose stories were never published. “We would also like to tell our readers that we are not protecting anybody from legal repercussions. What we are following is the obligation of journalistic due diligence, ethics and integrity. Social media allows us to react quickly and impulsively with great conviction. What it doesn’t do is provide context or the full story. The Austin Carlile story was never kept ‘under wraps.’ It was not published because we could not check all the boxes we, as journalists, must check."

The issued statement on their website goes into detail about why the investigation article was never published and how they could do better moving forward. Once again, the statement was met with criticism on social media, but there were also those who appreciated the desire to have verifiable sources.

The Austin Carlile story was never kept “under wraps.” It was not published because we could not check all the boxes we, as journalists, must check. During the period that the allegations surfaced and an investigation began, accusations and scenarios came to light. From the information that we have been able to review, these claims were not verifiable by sources or through official legal documentation (formal complaints, police reports, witnesses, etc). In addition, some of the individuals we spoke to had changed their position on the story or involvement for a variety of reasons. At several points during the investigations, additional sources who were willing to go on record to corroborate events went silent, canceled interviews, and stopped responding to our follow-ups. There were also people who refused to talk to us at the time who are now saying online they were never approached.
Ultimately, we realize now that perhaps reliving the situation could cause painful feelings for survivors and that’s why they could no longer participate.
We must navigate the “old” world of traditional media and also the “new” world of social media. The former is the time-tested world of journalistic due diligence, where things are investigated and vetted thoroughly. In the latter, social media, where media companies can be thrust into having to make an instantaneous judgment in the span of a URL. That’s how it works on Twitter, but not in journalism. We chose to not be one of those sites, regardless if it didn’t give immediate satisfaction to our online community and opened ourselves to charges of not caring, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
It doesn’t mean that allegations shouldn’t be taken seriously or that they are not true or that survivors should not be heard. When investigating serious criminal allegations, things such as police reports, documentation, witnesses who will go on the record to corroborate the accusations of others, and industry people who go silent to protect their reputations, can make the process difficult. Despite what we all wish were simply open and closed cases, there are many times a lot of grey areas.
It doesn’t mean the allegations against Austin Carlile are not true. Simply put, we didn’t know all the truth, so we couldn’t tell all the truth. We couldn’t get full cooperation from enough witnesses at the time to get to the truth. We cannot run an allegation without proper and complete vetting as it could open the company to lawsuits.

Caitlyn Stiffler responded to the statement:

Alternative Press claims the stories they collected on Austin Carlile did not meet a legal standard for publishing, despite previously publishing a story in 2017 about Brand New’s Jesse Lacey being accused of sexual misconduct by one female and Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter being accused of rape by one female, both of which lacked the legal documentation that the Alternative Press statement claimed the Austin Carlile investigation also lacked, as noted by commenters on social media.

Lacey was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor following an allegation made on Facebook. The thread started by guitar tech Brian Diaz was meant to confront Lacey's behavior, but then an accuser added her account of sexual misconduct over the years. After initially covering the post, Alternative Press later updated it to include a second accuser's account.

As for Carter, he was accused of sexual assault in 2017 by Melissa Schuman, who recounted a 2004 incident with Carter in a blog post that occurred while she was in the teen pop group Dream. Carter denied those allegations. That story was covered as well by Alternative Press.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned as news continues to break.

Note: Our Editor in Chief of Loudwire and Note to Scene worked at Alternative Press at the time of the Austin Carlile inquiry and was involved in the investigation of the initial story. No confidential information from that time has been shared or is included in this post.