Riley’s past remarks created a debacle around the release of The Ghost Inside’s latest album, which came out in June. The occasion should have been a celebration for the band after a remarkable comeback from a horrific bus accident that left most of its members seriously injured.
When The Ghost Inside began selling a charity t-shirt with proceeds benefitting the NAACP, Bracewar drummer Rashod Jackson called out Riley for using the N-word back in 2015. Riley admitted to the accusation, and was promptly let go from the band.
Apparently, the band members have come to regret the hasty decision to fire Riley. At the time, Jackson threatened in a tweet that if Riley remained in the band, he would make sure The Ghost Inside “NEVER play a show.” The situation got even messier when it was discovered that Jackson himself had used homophobic slurs online in the past.
As The Ghost Inside now explain, with a PR nightmare on their hands, they decided it was best to part ways with Riley sooner rather than later.
“We were just feeling the pressure from fans, people on social media, and even some peers,” drummer Andrew Tkaczyk told the Defiance Podcast (via Lambgoat), “we felt the pressure and we made a decision against the wishes of our management and label and as soon as we made that initial post about Jim not being in the band anymore… I think we all just saw something going on that was like a lose/lose and we just felt like that was the call to make at the time, and immediately felt bad and felt wrong. We knew that. We never stopped talking to Jim or anything. We literally have chatted every day since.”
Guitarist Chris Davis added: “It felt that incident was going to take away the band again. It just felt so overwhelming that it’s like we have to… all five of us felt like we had to do something. Looking back now, we definitely acted hastily and definitely made the wrong call.”
Riley also commented, saying that he would “gladly step away from the band if that was going to be what it took for The Ghost Inside to move forward.” He added: “In the moment, it did definitely feel like that was the only decision that could be made. If it felt like there was some other way to navigate this, we would have done that instead. It just didn’t feel that way.”
It’s uncertain whether Riley has been reinstated into the band’s lineup. It’s never explicitly stated in the interview, as Lambgoat reports. However, Tkaczyk’s comments imply that the band may have changed its mind about firing Riley and is willing to accept the repercussions.
“We f**ked up,” Tkaczyk said. “We are also just human. We f**ked up and that’s it. If people don’t want to support the band and all that, I accept that. That’s everyone’s decision to make but regardless of anything we’ve even just said, the most important thing is that Jim is still our brother.”
Listen to the full interview with The Ghost Inside below.