Multiple women accuse emo musician William Control of running 'sex cult'

Laura Snapes
William Francis AKA William Control, who fronted Aiden, at the 2017 Alternative Press Music Awards at in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Several women have accused the musician William Francis, AKA William Control, who was frontman of emo band Aiden, of forcing them into a “sex cult”. An investigation by the Daily Beast features explicit accounts from women who claim that Francis enacted physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse towards them, and that he has used his public image as a practitioner of BDSM as a guise for violence, including forcing his alleged victims to tattoo his initials on their bodies and sign contracts in blood.

Washington State police are said to have investigated the claims made against Francis, but decided not to charge him. On 7 June, Francis posted a statement to the Facebook page for his solo project, William Control: “I went into the police for questioning about these allegations earlier this year. After showing the detective my side of the story, including private communication, he recommended no charges be pressed, because it was clear the behavior was consensual. I have in the past engaged in heavy role play and bondage relationships WITH consent. However, I do not engage in that sort of play anymore. And for anyone who feels as though I have hurt them or violated their consent, I am sorry. It won’t ever happen again. There are lots of things that have been said that are outright lies. I have never been with underage girls. I have never been involved in a ‘sex cult’.”

The Daily Beast investigation was prompted by claims made earlier this month by Vitoria Chan. She posted a statement to Facebook claiming that Francis and a woman had started grooming her, when she was 14, into a “sex cult” that “targets emotionally unstable women into becoming BDSM sex slaves”. Her claims were reported on a number of websites. Chan reiterated her claims to the Daily Beast and said she was in contact “with over 20 women involved in the cult”.

A woman identified as Lily claimed to the Daily Beast that Francis anally raped her and made her sign a contract in her own blood. She also claimed that Francis wanted her to change her appearance, causing her to develop an eating disorder. “There were rules, and he would make me film myself doing various degrading sex acts.”


Another woman, Stormie Somers, who says she dated Francis for nine years, alleged a violent assault after Francis “summoned” her to a Los Angeles hotel room in October 2010. “He collapsed my throat, dislocated my jaw, he gave me black eyes, a contusion to my spine.” She claimed that Francis used her to recruit other women into the “sex cult”. She also told the Daily Beast that she worked to send him money. “Even if he didn’t need the money, it was still my job to supply him with money.”

On 8 June, Francis posted a second Facebook statement saying that he would not be releasing his new record, Revelations, to prevent the artists on his label Control from being “affected by my own personal shit”, and that he would be retreating from the public eye. “I’m sorry to everyone but it’s best that I focus on my family and not have any more communication with the outside world.”