Black Dresses, the Toronto-based noise-pop duo of Devi McCallion and Ada Rook, have announced plans to break up. In a statement shared with Pitchfork, the duo explained that the decision stems from fans’ “extended harassment” of McCallion over the past two years. Read it in full below.
The group’s statement doesn’t outline specific events that prompted the decision; it notes that McCallion experienced “extended invasion of privacy and harassment” and alludes to an escalation in “hurtful and frightening behavior.” The statement also alludes to the community of fans who found Black Dresses via the viral TikTok success of their intensely personal 2018 debut album WASTEISOLATION.
“Following its popularity, we did our best to write about less personal subject matter on subsequent albums, but WASTEISOLATION, which includes songs about both of our experiences with childhood sexual assault, remained very popular,” Rook wrote. “Unfortunately, that popularity has now culminated in Devi’s harassment, so we have decided to disband.”
There is a lot of false information going around. “IN MY MOUTH” was NOT the song that set this all off, contrary to what has been reported. It’s honestly irrelevant which song it was. Entitled fans have been behaving in a very hurtful and frightening way towards Devi including extended invasion of privacy and harassment for some two years now, only going to further and further extremes.
When we released WASTEISOLATION we had almost no audience, didn’t know what TikTok was, and didn't think we would get any attention for such a personal album. Following its popularity, we did our best to write about less personal subject matter on subsequent albums, but WASTEISOLATION, which includes songs about both of our experiences with childhood sexual assault, remained very popular. Unfortunately, that popularity has now culminated in Devi’s harassment, so we have decided to disband.
Fans can be kind. Fans can be creative. Fans can be alive and inspired and full of goodness. We are music fans too! However, “Fandom” often involves the culture of acting like you own a person and feeling entitled to them. Fandom frequently feels within its right to try and punish or destroy the object of its fascination if it does not cater to the fandom’s perception of what it should be. We do not hate our fans—we’ve had many positive interactions with them—but recent events have been far too strenuous on Devi's health, so we are simply doing what we have to.
I (rook) am somewhat more detached from the situation but obviously want Devi to be safe, so I stand with her on this decision completely. I am still very proud of what we accomplished on WASTEISOLATION and it’s a deeply special album to me. We are grateful for the support we have received over the years. Please do not spread unfounded rumors or gossip or ask us for further clarification. We are simply doing what is best for us. Thank you.