Mexico rock star commits suicide, citing #MeToo accusation
MEXICO CITY, Mexico – A Mexican rock star was found dead Monday after tweeting a suicide note saying he planned to kill himself in a “radical declaration of innocence” after being accused of sexual harassment by the country’s #MeToo movement.
Armando Vega Gil, 63, the bassist for veteran rock group Botellita de Jerez (Little Bottle of Sherry), died early Monday, the group said on Twitter.
Mexico City prosecutors said they were investigating the death of a middle-aged man found hung from a tree with wire at his home in the central Narvarte neighborhood.
An investigation source confirmed the man was Vega, speaking on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the probe.
Just hours earlier, Vega posted a suicide note on Twitter saying he was taking his own life in reaction to an anonymous accusation that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl more than a decade ago.
The accusation was made earlier that night on the Twitter account @MeTooMusicaMX, part of a nascent #MeToo movement in Mexico that has triggered a flood of accusations of sexual assault against journalists, academics, writers and others in the cultural sphere in recent weeks.
“I categorically deny this accusation,” Vega, who was also an award-winning poet and writer, tweeted before taking his own life.
“It is a fact that I will lose my work, which was built upon my public credibility. My life is detained, there is no exit,” he said.
Vega wrote that he feared he would not be able to defend himself on social media, where “anything I say will be used against me,” and that he wished to spare his son from “suffering the effects of this false accusation against me.”
“I must clarify that my death is not a confession of guilt. On the contrary, it is a radical declaration of innocence,” he added.
Vega’s son is eight years old, a family friend told AFP.
Early Sunday, the Twitter account @MeTooMusicaMX aired an accusation by a woman who said Vega befriended her when she was a 13-year-old aspiring musician and he was 50.
He invited her over to his home and made a series of unwanted sexual advances, including telling her he wanted to teach her to kiss, she said.
She ultimately severed ties with him.
“I’m sure I’m not the only one. It terrifies me to know that other people probably weren’t as lucky as me and fell into his perverse trap,” she wrote.
The #MeToo movement gained little traction in Mexico when it burst onto the international scene in 2017 with a series of accusations of sexual assault against powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
However, in recent weeks, the movement has made major waves in the worlds of Mexican music, journalism, publishing and universities. /cbb
HOW TO GET HELP
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said suicide is a tragedy that could be avoided. Those who may need help can contact its Hopeline, a 24/7 suicide prevention hotline in the Philippines, at (02) 804-4673 and 0917-5584673, 0917-5582919 for Globe and TM subscribers.
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