Megadeth have announced that founding bassist David Ellefson is no longer in the band. The news comes exactly two weeks after Megadeth publicly acknowledged the sexual misconduct allegations that were levied at the 56-year-old bassist earlier this month. The scandal involved leaked messages and explicit videos between Ellefson and a woman other than his wife, which were posted to social media on the weekend of May 8th.
On Monday, May 10th, Megadeth stated that they were monitoring the development of the situation, and today (May 24th), the band — led by frontman Dave Mustaine — shared a brief yet firm statement that confirms Ellefson's firing from the pioneering thrash group.
"We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him," the statement reads.
"We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward."
"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. It is almost complete."
When the scandal initially broke, the allegations against Ellefson included an accusation that the woman he was interacting with was underage, and he was therefore grooming her. In the statement he posted on May 10th, Ellefson denied that the woman was underage, but did call the video and text leaks "embarrassing."
"As much as it's not something I'm proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family," he wrote in a statement on his now-private Instagram.
Additionally, the woman wrote on her now-deleted Instagram that she was in fact a consenting adult when the calls took place, and that the grooming allegation was a gross mischaracterization of the whole situation.
"It was all consensual, I'm not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it," she wrote (via Loudwire).
Ellefson co-founded Megadeth with Dave Mustaine in 1983 and remained in the band up until their breakup in 2002, and throughout their reunion from 2004 until now. Other than Mustaine, he was the only founding member in Megadeth's current lineup. The band have yet to name a replacement.