South African death metal band Vulvodynia recently fired vocalist Duncan Bentley after he allegedly “tried to kill” drummer Tom Hughes during a violent encounter in Prague that left the latter with a badly broken nose.
Now, Bentley has issued his own statement, apologizing to his former bandmates for the incident while denying that he made any attempt on Hughes’ life.
In the lengthy social media post, Bentley also addressed his history of physical altercations with Hughes — retelling one incident where the drummer “choked” Bentley during a heated argument while traveling — and opened up about his own mental and physical injuries stemming from the band, “unfounded” accusations that he has abused his wife, and whether or not he’ll look to retain the Vulvodynia name in a legal sense.
Bentley’s full statement reads as follows:
“Hey everyone, I’m writing this to you all today with a heavy heart. There’s no easy way to talk about what happened recently, but it’s important that I do. I’ve been silent until now because I was stranded without means to communicate, and I wanted to get medically checked out before addressing what happened.
First up, I owe the band, our crew, and Tom an apology. An apology seems so small in the face of what happened, but I need to offer it. I’m so sorry for what happened in Prague. We’ve shared so many stages, so many good times, and I never wanted our story to end on a night like that. I regret that our disagreement turned physical, and I take full responsibility for my part in it…
To clear up any misconceptions, I want everyone to know that I’ve been sober since March 30th. I never ‘tried to kill’ Tom like all the headlines are saying… The reason our argument started that night was because I was wrongly accused of drinking while I was actually sober, taking care of my bandmates, who were themselves drinking.
The frustration of seeing our hard-earned band funds being used on drinks, drugs, lapdances etc and then being accused of drinking myself when I was merely tired, escalated an already existing tension. The misuse of funds had been a recurring event since the band bank account was put in Tom‘s name.
This isn’t the first time that Tom and I have had a physical altercation. On our third European tour, Tom choked me out after pulling out of our tour van during a heated argument, leaving me feeling betrayed and hurt. Then, in the Philippines, I attacked him in a drunken rage after not having slept properly and having to deal with grief from the death of a family member.
I’m not proud of these incidents, and they are not excuses for my behavior. But I do want to make it clear that these were isolated events and that Tom and I have had many positive experiences together as friends and bandmates.
I must ask you all though, if you were in our shoes and witnessed two bandmates fighting, wouldn’t you try to help both parties involved? Just because Tom‘s external injuries were more visible doesn’t mean that I wasn’t also injured and in need of support. It’s a devastating experience to be abandoned by the people you considered your family for so long…
That being said, I did end up with injuries–broken ribs and a concussion among them–and was left alone in an unfamiliar city with no phone and no means of contacting home, which really left me in a tough spot. The R5000 sent to me by the band barely covered anything as my travel costs and medical bills came to well over R15000/$1000 which I had to borrow from family as I was not able to change my flight. I’m not saying this to play the victim but to add a piece of the story that wasn’t shared.
I’ve never felt this level of heartbreak. Losing everything you’ve worked for, everything you love in a moment, is a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone. That moment, being pinned by the police against a wall, begging my bandmates for help through my tears, will stay with me forever. Abandoned, blocked and written off by my closest brothers… it’s a pain that words can’t fully capture…
It’s disheartening to see my former bandmates resorting to name-calling and character assassination in an attempt to silence my side of the story. Their accusations of me being a “manipulator, psychopath, and compulsive liar” are not only baseless but also a clear indication of how far they’re willing to go to snuff my voice and justify their actions. I urge everyone to take a step back and evaluate the situation from all angles before jumping to conclusions or making hasty judgments…
There have been multiple death threats sent to my wife, family, and friends since the post made by the band. I’m begging you, please stop. They are innocent in all of this and don’t deserve that at all. My wife has been receiving death threats in another city, and it’s been weeks since I’ve seen her. This has been weighing heavily on me… It’s unacceptable that anyone should have to go through this…
Now, I need to address something deeply personal and I ask for your understanding. Rumors and allegations have surfaced suggesting that I have acted inappropriately toward my wife. I want to address this directly and unequivocally: these allegations are unfounded. I need to make it clear—I love my wife. And I love my family more than anything in this world. Last year, I was battling a severe Xanax and alcohol addition, which led to a blackout incident that I deeply regret.
It was a low point in my life that my wife and I have worked hard to covercome. My wife and I have tackled the issue together and Chris had no right to put this information our there as I would never intentionally harm her. These are grave accusations that have caused the majority of the death threats me and my family have received since the incident.
My wife and I will forever feel unsane when we leave the home and this has caused tremendous amounts of distress for both me and my loved ones. Lisha even got a phone call yesterday from someone who claimed to know ‘how we move’ and ‘what time we leave the house’ telling us they will get us… This should not be taken lightly so please respect our privacy as we work through this difficult time.
Reading the terrible things being said about me and my family has been gut-wrenching. I’ve thought about giving up, but I won’t. I’m committed to becoming a better person-for my family, for our fans, and for myself.
I currently face the hardest decision of my life: do I stand back and let the band, a name I started and worked so hard for, be taken from me? Or do I fight for the sliver of hope I have left? This band is my entire life and I have worked so extremely hard to get it to where it currently is. We were heading towards our ten-year anniversary next year, a milestone I dreamed of reaching all my life, before this unfortunate night…
It is extremely upsetting that this incident was not sorted out between both parties before posts and accusations were made—especially since I, too, was injured.
I honestly wish I had never gone out with them that night…
I’ll be stepping back from social media and music to focus on my mental health. I need some time to work on myself, getting the help I need to figure out my problems and how to deal with them. The days ahead will be challenging, but I am committed to bettering my life, learning from my mistakes and growing from this experience that will haunt me forever. It’s my hope that, in time, I can regain your trust and respect.
Thanks to everyone for your understanding and patience as I work through this hectic period in my life. I am grateful for those who have shown me kindness and support during this time when no one else has.
In closing, I want to extend my deepest apologies once again to Tom, the band, our fans, all of our associates, and everyone this situation has affected. I am truly sorry for the hurt that I have caused and I promise to make you all proud of me once more. Hopefully one day we can put aside this horrific incident and hang out as friends again. I still love you all so much, you’ll always be my bros.
Take care, stay safe, and remember to be kind to each other. Things happen so quickly.
In Vulvodynia’s initial statement, the group admitted that it had already been considering the dismissal of Bentley due to erratic behavior and excessive drinking. Due to financial commitments related to touring, the band continued with Bentley as long as he promised to not drink — the touchy subject that apparently led to the recent altercation with Hughes.
In a second statement made by Hughes describing the encounter, the drummer said the two were “not in any sort of drunken brawl,” but had been enjoying an “amazing” night out after a show when Bentley’s behavior started to become erratic. When Hughes asked Bentley if he’d been drinking, Bentley “absolutely lost it” and turned violent.
Apparently, it wasn’t the first time Bentley had attacked Hughes in a fit of rage, with Hughes recalling a recent incident in the Philippines when Bentley broke Hughes’ ribs after being awoken because of a tardy hotel lobby call. Concluding his statement, Hughes confirmed that Bentley will never be a member of the band again.
You can view Bentley’s Instagram post and statement below.