has fired longtime bassist David Ellefson following accusations of sexual misconduct
and pursuing minors.
The heavy metal band announced Ellefson's dismissal on social media
on Monday, citing an "already strained relationship" and stating that it "did not take this decision lightly."
“What has already been revealed now is sufficient to render future collaboration impossible,” the statement said.
“We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music
with the world, which is nearly complete,” the band added.
megadeth (@Megadeth) May 24, 2021 pic.twitter.com/ioVveK1UXp
Ellefson was chastised earlier this month after sexually explicit video footage he allegedly sent to a young woman was leaked online.
The video sparked claims that the bassist "groomed" the woman and pursued underage fans by sending inappropriate messages.
In a now-deleted Instagram
post, Ellefson denied that the video's recipient was underage, calling the clips "private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career, and family."
Ellefson, who is married, claimed the videos were “released with malicious intent by a third party who was not authorized to have or share them.”
He also shared a screenshot of what appeared to be a statement from the woman he sent the video to, in which she stated that she was not underage at the time the video was shot and that she "was always a consenting adult."
According to Billboard
, Megadeth issued a statement in response to the initial allegations, saying the band is "watching developments closely" and that they didn't know much about Ellefson.
“As it relates to creativity and business
, we are all familiar with one another,” the statement said, “however, there are clearly aspects of David’s private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is critical that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully, and we look forward to the truth coming to light.”
Ellefson's Twitter account has since been deactivated, and his Instagram and personal Facebook
page have been made private.