Last year, the indie rock band Real Estate announced that guitarist and founding member Matt Mondanile left the group providing little explanation other than Mondanile would be spending more time on his solo project, Ducktails. But this week, details of Mondanile’s departure came to light. On Friday, October 13, the band put out a statement to Pitchfork, explaining that Mondanile was fired from Real Estate after the other members found out about he had been accused of “unacceptable treatment of women.”
The reaction by Real Estate fans was fairly swift, with tweets and Instagram condemning not only Mondanile, but also the band’s slow handling of the situation: One Instagram comment referred to them as “spineless fucks.” Clearly, since the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have dominated the news cycle for the last two weeks, a desire to expose such deplorable behavior is at the forefront of many minds. These allegations especially hit home in the indie rock community, where many fans align themselves with progressive values and see a lack of response at best troubling and worst enabling, even if Real Estate don’t have a history of being especially outspoken or political.
We’ve reached out to Real Estate for comment on shifting their reasoning for Mondanile’s removal from the band, more than a year after it was announced.
Below is a quick timeline of the band’s split with Mondanile:
May 25, 2016: Real Estate released a statement about Mondanile departing the band, while announcing tour dates. At the time, the band said Mondanile was focusing on Ducktails, which he played in before he started Real Estate:
These upcoming shows will be the first with new member and fellow scion of Ridgewood, NJ, guitarist Julian Lynch. Lynch takes the place vacated by the departing Matt Mondanile, who is focusing on his own Ducktails project, a musical endeavor that predates his involvement in Real Estate.
March 17, 2017: Martin Courtney, a guitarist in the band, spoke to Uproxx earlier this year and skirted around the topic of Mondaile’s leaving:
Him not being in the band, it wasn’t simply … He didn’t just quit. I mean, there’s more to it. It’s kind of stuff that I don’t necessarily want to talk about. So I don’t know, its just complicated. It’s definitely a little more mutual than I guess what people might think is the case.
“It’s way easy for me to just do anything I want and not have to do the lame stuff I would have to do with them,” he said. “Like, play a crappy jam band festival in Arizona.”
October 13, 2017: Real Estate gives statement to Pitchfork. This is the first time the band publicly acknowledges Mondanile’s separation from the band since 2016.
Matt Mondanile was fired in February 2016 when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention. While we urged him to seek counseling at the time of termination, we are no longer in contact. We feel that any abuse of one’s power or status to victimize another is completely unacceptable. We applaud the courage of the women who came forward to make us aware so that we could address the issue head on.
According to Pitchfork, Mondanile denied “any wrongdoing,” speaking over the phone, before their story ran.
Shortly after Pitchfork’s story, Spin published their own account of the allegations against Mondanile, which included testimony from sources who knew the band, including a former publicist for Mondanile. Wishing to remain anonymous, they said:
When I heard these allegations I spoke with the label and told them I could no longer work with him. The label suggested they would be doing the same. The band firing came later I believe. That was the end of my dealings with him. We never had contact again. He unfollowed me on social media, etc.
After the band released a statement and Spin published their story, a number of people went to Twitter to affirm misdealings with Mondanile over the years.
These on-the-record accounts, from seven women in total, largely involve allegations of Mondanile touching, kissing, and groping them without their consent. Two women alleged that Mondanile groped them while they were sleeping, and a third said that he did so while she was trying to sleep.
So far, there has been no legal accusation made against Mondanile, but we’ll update the story as more details come to light.