Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is speaking out about messages his young daughter Alabama has received from Echosmith drummer Graham Sierota.
According to screenshots posted by the 13-year-old, Sierota repeatedly reached out to the girl in 2016 when she was only 10. Several “Hi” messages went unanswered, followed by something more elaborated. “By the way I’m Graham from Echosmith and I think ur beautiful,” he wrote days after.
With silence from Alabama, Sierota stopped messaging her. That is until July 12th of this year, when the Echosmith drummer invited her to a BBQ.
“Ur like 40” she responded 9 days later.
“I just wanted to say I really like ur music and sorry for messaging and I’m 20” Sierota shot back. “Ok but u understand I’m a child?” Alabama quickly replied.
The 13-year-old posted the exchange on her Instagram Story, tagging Echosmith and calling him, “Super creepy.”
Alabama’s father Travis Barker didn’t hold back when asked about the exchange, telling The Blast, "When I found out a 20-year-old man was trying to get in touch with my 13-year-old daughter by filling her Instagram messages with party invites and compliments I was disgusted."
"That’s predatory behavior and there is nothing cool, normal or ok about it at all."
Graham Sierota issued a statement on Thursday, claiming that he didn’t know Alabama’s age at the time of the exchange. "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" he explained.
“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."
Alabama is the youngest daughter of Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler.
In addition to Sierota's initial statement, Graham and his family have since released the following statement regarding his diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
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.
Graham’s challenges have always been a non-issue in our family. 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. One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us “Graham reached out on social media and invited us!” 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.
As a family, we will continue to work with him 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.