"Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable," says his family in a new statement.
Echosmith drummer Graham Sierota and the rest of his family just released a lengthy new statement, hoping to "clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations" of the musician after the 20-year-old's interactions with Travis Barker's underage daughter, Alabama.
According to the family -- including bandmates and siblings Sydney and Noah and parents Linda and Jeffrey Sierota -- Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a child and, in turn, "has difficulty understanding social cues."
Read the statement in full below:
We have never publicly addressed this in the past, but given the events of the last few days, we feel compelled to speak out now to offer some additional context and insight into the unfortunate misunderstandings that occurred and clear up the deeply hurtful mischaracterizations of Graham. As a child, Graham was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has difficulty understanding social cues.
Graham's challenges have always been a non-issue in our family. In fact, it is a truly beautiful and wonderful thing that makes Graham the amazing brother, son and friend that he is. His outlook on life inspires us every day. He’ll be the first one to say "today is gonna be the best day ever,"” or, "you're my best friend and you look amazing today." He sees the world as the happiest place, where everyone is a potential friend, and he wants everyone to feel included. One very recent Christmas, we hosted a holiday party at our home, and had athletes, musicians, artists, and models show up, and we were very confused until they happily told us "Graham reached out on social media and invited us!" Anyone who has ever met Graham will agree, he is the friendliest and most kind-hearted, welcoming person in the world.
We understand that his interactions were misinterpreted and misunderstood in the confusing world of social media, and we are deeply sorry. Graham certainly never meant to make anyone feel uncomfortable.
As a family, we will continue to work with him to have the right tools and knowledge about social boundaries, and to better navigate and utilize social media while he takes a break from it.
We hope anyone who’s been affected, and in turn felt uncomfortable, can accept our deepest apologies.
Alabama first called out Sierota in her Instagram Stories for DMs that began in 2016, when she was just 10. At the time, he said he thought she was "beautiful," but she didn't appear to respond.
Then, in mid-July of this year, he sent her an invitation to a BBQ. About a week after, she responded saying "Ur like 40." In response, he wrote, "I just wanted to say i really like ur music and sorry for messaging and I'm 20."
She responded, "Ok but u understand I'm a child?", before sharing screenshots to her Instagram Stories with the caption, "Hey guys! So once again I am bringing this to your attention because I'm a 13 year old girl and he is 21/20 super creepy." She also tagged Echosmith's official account in the Stories, which expired from her page after 24 hours.
Graham later admitted he sent the invitation this month and apologized for doing so.
"I had invited Alabama to my parents' big family BBQ along with many other people, and it wasn't until she responded that I realized her age at which point I apologized to her," said the musician.
"I'm really sorry and feel very badly about this. I didn't realize she was a minor and assumed she was my age," the statement continued. "I made a careless mistake and this is a big lesson for me. I would like to apologize again to Alabama, her dad Travis, and her family."
Alabama later accepted his apology with another Instagram Story.
"Hey guys! I am posting on behalf of the drummer of Echosmith," wrote the teenager early Friday morning. "He had dmed me a while back in 2016 and then once again in July saying I was beautiful and invited me to a bbq and invited me to a bbq at his house. He is very sorry about the situation and regretful I forgive him and would like for this to be over."