Echosmith drummer's family reveal he has autism following messages to Travis Barker's daughter
5 August 2019, 16:30
13-year-old Alabama Barker has said she has forgiven Graham Sierota following his apology.
The family of Graham Sierota, the 20-year-old Echosmith drummer who sent direct messages to Travis Barker's 13-year-old daughter Alabama, have revealed that Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a child.
In a statement issued to People Magazine (Aug 2), the family said they wanted to "offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings" and have further apologised to Alabama and her family.
The story came to light after Blink 182's Travis Barker spoke out after he alleged that a musician in the band Echosmith improperly contacted her over Instagram DM.
Alabama Barker shared screenshots from the conversation with Sierota. One message from 2016, when Alabama was 10-years-old, reads: "By the way I'm Graham from echosmith and I think ur beautiful."
Alabama shared the screenshots on Instagram stories with her nearly 300k followers, writing: "Hey guys! So once again I am bringing this to your attention because I am a 13 year old girl and he is 21/20 super creepy."
The screenshots show that, in July 2019, she was contacted again and invited to a barbecue. She responded to the invite, writing: "ur like 40". Graham allegedly responded: "I just wanted to say I really like your music and sorry for messaging and I'm 20". Alabama responded to this by saying: "Ok but do u understand I'm a child?"
The statement from the Sierota family reads:
“We have never publicly addressed this in the past, but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations of Graham.”
“As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues. In fact, it is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is. His outlook on life inspires us every day. He’ll be the first one to say ‘today is gonna be the best day ever,’ or, ‘you’re my best friend and you look amazing today.’ He sees the world as the happiest place, where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included.”
“Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world. We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.”
The statement — which is signed by Graham and his bandmate siblings Sydney, 22, and Noah, 23, as well as their parents, Linda and Jeffery — concludes by saying that the family will continue to work with Graham “to have the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilize social media while he takes a break from it.”
“We hope anyone who’s been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies.”
Alabama has since accepted Graham’s apology and said on her Instagram Story Friday that "would like for this all to be over".
“Hey guys! I am posting on behalf of the drummer of Echosmith!", she wrote. "He had dmed me a while back in 2016 and then once again in July saying I was beautiful and invited me to a bbq at his house. He is very sorry about the situation and regretful,” she said. “I forgive him and would like for this all to be over.”
In a previous statement provided to Just Jared Jr. Graham apologised, calling the situation "a careless mistake".
“I had invited Alabama to my parents’ big family BBQ along with many other people, and it wasn’t until she responded that I realized her age at which point I apologized to her. I’m really sorry and feel very badly about this. I didn’t realize she was a minor and assumed she was my age. I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologize again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family.”