Three years ago Jake McElfresh, who records under the musical moniker Front Porch Step, was accused of sexual harassment by several young women, a handful of which were teenagers. In 2015, a petition was created to remove Front Porch Step from playing the traveling pop-punk festival Warped Tour—founder Kevin Lyman obliged; McElfresh was uninvited and Front Porch Step was dropped by his label Pure Noise Records. Lyman later allowed McElfresh to play one surprise set at the Nashville date of the tour, further enraging the thousands of pop-punk fans who’d signed the petition. McElfresh stayed quiet for a while, later citing mental difference as the reason for his indiscretions. In 2016, he returned with a new song, “Help Me Hurt,” and a Christian identity. That, too, was met with a barrage of both support and opposition. In February of this year, McElfresh once again attempted to return to the limelight, announcing that a new song would be released on the 16th. For a specific group of music fans and professionals, it was the final straw.
Bands Take A Stand was created and launched in a single day—February 16th—by an anonymous group (“We want to keep the focus on what we’re doing, not who is doing it,” a representative wrote via email) bewildered by Front Porch Step’s return. The organization asked bands to donate their Bandcamp sales to A Voice For the Innocent, a non-profit dedicated to acting as a community of support for victims of rape and sexual abuse. Within that 24-hour time period, 320 bands signed up—everyone from the dynamic duo of PWR BTTM to smaller emo and pop-punk acts from around the country and Mexico. Bands Take A Stand asked those who signed up to donate for a single day. A month later and many acts are still voluntarily sending all proceeds to A Voice for the Innocent.