Dance Gavin Dance allowing vocalist Tillian Pearson to return after sexual coercion accusations with no explanation brings shame to the Sacramento music scene

Pearson has not acknowledged the texts sent to him


The explicit texts have not been explained or acknowledged by Tillian Pearson. (Screenshot via Imgur)

In 2019, I attended the first annual Swanfest, a music festival in Los Angeles headlined by the Sacramento rock band Dance Gavin Dance. I had become a big fan of them after listening to their “Mothership” album and slowly transformed into a loyal follower—counting down the days for their albums to be released.

Tillian Pearson’s clean and soft lead vocals stood out when juxtaposed in front of the band’s heavier-infused sound. I instantly fell in love with the pretty melodies and, at times, perfectly violent breakdowns in their music.

Then, six months ago, Pearson was accused of sexual coercion by an anonymous Reddit user. What made this accusation compelling was the screenshots and pictures to back up their account and the open apology posted by Pearson a few days later. 

I will be entering an intensive therapy program to address this issue head on,” Pearson said in his apology. “To become the healthiest, most responsible version of me, doing the work necessary to ensure this never happens again.”

Shortly after, DGD tweeted a statement which acknowledged the allegations and revealed that Pearson would be stepping away from the band to seek professional help. 

This tore up the fanbase. Some fans even argued that Pearson had done nothing wrong if the accusation had taken place. Most, though, were critical of the singer and wanted answers. This has not changed and it will not change for many people—we still have not gotten answers.

Although Pearson claimed it was a consensual experience from his perspective, he has remained silent on the alleged graphic and disturbing details from that night found in the text. Pearson claims the apology below was not an admission of guilt: 

This was not a good look considering another accusation had been made just days earlier. The first allegation had no evidence and contradicted itself at times—it was hard to believe for many. Pearson had also quickly responded and denied the first account. 

There were also several different alleged accusations toward him dating back to 2015 that also included text evidence. 

To be clear: it was the second accusation this year that really set everything off.

On Nov. 10, DGD shocked its fan base by announcing that Pearson was being welcomed back to the band. Pearson also posted an update the same day, blaming the tragic loss of the band’s bassist earlier in the year and the power alcohol had over him on his behavior. 

He also went on to deny any kind of sexual misconduct.

“It’s important for me to address something that has been twisted and misrepresented,” Pearson said. “The work I have done … has nothing to do with any kind of sexual misconduct.”

Pearson also posted another statement, once again denying the accusations. In his response, he openly called out the first accuser by name and gave his timeline and breakdown of their relationship.

“I tried to take the high road in my initial statement to save her embarrassment,” Pearson said. “But the truth is she is neither a victim nor a ‘survivor’ of our brief relationship.”

Pearson simply denied any coercion took place in regard to the second accusation. He did not refer to them by name or talk about the content of the texts. There were no accusations thrown at them and he did not include texts between. Just a short, forgettable acknowledgement and denial of the most convincing account—the one he had previously apologized to and who had provided texts to show how the night had gone between them. 

Call it a red herring, or a callous attempt to gaslight fans—Pearson’s 180 on this situation is questionable to say the least. We want to hear an explanation about the second accusation—a simple answer will not do. 

Though many followers have accepted this and welcomed the singer, it is encouraging to see how many are willing to question the band’s decision to welcome Pearson with no further explanation of the alleged sexual misconduct and instead redirect the issue to his substance abuse problem and suicidal ideation.

I am deeply disappointed in the band’s reframing of the situation. DGD encouraged fans’ support them through their latest album release after Pearson’s (now we know) temporary departure from the band in the name of honoring their late-bassist. To welcome him back after profiting off their fans while ignoring the accusations is a slap in the face to fans.

Pearson’s alcoholism did not prompt action from the band. What prompted action from the band was the disgusting behavior reflected in the text and the second accusation. 

The truth will likely only exist in those moments in time. Though my absence won’t be missed, I cannot bring myself to listen to what was once my favorite band. The reframing of the problem and silence on the content of the texts that seems to show coercion took place has left a bad taste in my mouth. 

As many have told us: don’t ever meet your heroes.