Update: FYF’s Sean Carlson Admits Sexual Misconduct

Two days after Goldenvoice ended its relationship with FYF Fest co-founder Sean Carlson, reports emerged accusing the promoter of having inappropriate sexual contact with four women along with the promoter admitting to many – though not all – of the accusations and issuing an apology.

FYF Fest
– FYF Fest

Goldenvoice made no mention of the reason behind its decision to sever ties with Carlson in its email announcing the termination to major talent agencies on Nov. 13 nor was it said explicitly in the Nov. 15 report by SPIN.

Shortly after SPIN published its account, the Los Angeles Times reported that Carlson had been the subject of a 2013 report to the Los Angeles Police Department by a woman alleging he had committed “assault with intent to commit a felony and forcible oral copulation.”

LAPD Capt. Patricia Sandoval told the Times that prosecutors determined at the time there was insufficient evidence to file charges in the case.

The only accuser to allow her name to be used by both publications was Natasha Ryan, who as a freelance photographer encountered Carlson in 2010 at an after-party during the three-day Matador At 21 festival at the Palms hotel and resort in Las Vegas.

She told SPIN and the Times that Carlson, who worked as a promoter for the festival, grabbed her by the hair, attempted to remove her bra and pushed her against a wall while trying to kiss her before attempting to drag her into a bathroom by the wrists. She was able to break away and immediately told friends and, a few days later, her mother.

Carlson responded to Ryan’s account to the Times through a publicist.

“I was with Ms. Ryan and others, all in our underwear, in a jacuzzi. I tried to kiss her, and when we got out of the jacuzzi I nudged her arm and asked her to go into the bathroom with me. She said no, and nothing further happened. Several others were present. I neither pinned her against a wall nor tried to drag her into a bathroom.” 

FYF Fest 2017
Rich Fury / Getty Images for FYF)
– FYF Fest 2017

Over the past several years, Carlson has been the subject of rumors alleging sexual misconduct and, in the last year, several anonymous posters called him out by name on a Tumblr blog titled “The Industry Ain’t Safe.”

In a Facebook post at about 7 a.m. today (Nov. 15), Carlson wrote:  

“This is a personal letter about sexual harassment and other forms of inappropriate behavior.

“Several years ago, I was a part of the problem. I behaved inappropriately towards women and these actions were unacceptable.

“I am genuinely, unequivocally sorry. I lay fault at no one’s feet but my own. I am ashamed by how I acted and feel terrible for the pain that I have caused.

“Actions speak louder than words. In December 2015, my years of recklessness and selfishness hit a breaking point; I had to make a promise to family and friends that I would change, or risk finally exhausting what remained of their compassion and support. I gave up alcohol for good, I embraced therapy, and I asked, sincerely, that my family and friends forgive me.

“These corrective actions do not excuse my reprehensible conduct, and are of small solace to those whose pain I am so very sorry to have caused.”

Pollstar reached out to sources with knowledge of the alleged incidents described against Carlson, but none confirmed the allegations although secondary sources did. Pollstar also reached out to Carlson and Goldenvoice representatives for comment, but did not hear back at press time.

Goldenvoice ended its 6-year partnership with Carlson, notifying agents by email of the decision. “Effective immediately Goldenvoice has ended its relationship with Sean Carlson,” wrote Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett. “We’re evaluating our path forward as it relates to FYF Fest.  Please have your agents direct all matters regarding

The reference to Coachella Music & Arts Festival suggests that Carlson developed an influential role with the Indio, Calif., festival institution and its co-founder Tollett.

Emails to Tollett regarding the Coachella connection and the future of FYF Fest were also not returned at press time.

FYF – or Fuck Yeah Fest – was founded by Carlson in 2004 and initially took place at a banquet hall that is now EchoPlex in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. It quickly took off and moved to Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2009 where it remained until construction at the site forced a move to

Goldenvoice and parent AEG Live partnered with Carlson to produce the festival beginning in 2011. The following year was the last the festival reported box office data to Pollstar – and even though a comparison to the 2017 edition would be very much an apples-to-oranges endeavor, the much smaller, single-day edition with “big letter” artists Refused, M83, and Beirut grossed more than $1.6 million dollars on more than 18,000 tickets sold.

The latest edition of FYF at Exposition Park covered three days and four stages and the once-punkish festival has been hailed as one of the best in the country. The 2017 edition showcased headliners Missy Elliott, Bjork, Frank Ocean, and Nine Inch Nails