If there was one punk group that positioned itself as a leader of a movement for inclusivity, radical change, and allyship in the early 2000s, it was Anti-Flag.
Co-founded by Justin Geever, a.k.a. Justin Sane, in Pittsburgh in 1993, members flitted in and out until the group solidified in 1999. Anti-Flag would go on to draw legions of devoted fans for their progressive messaging and political activism, including anti-war causes and animal-rights advocacy.
Geever served as the face, voice, and outward idealism of the group for decades. The band was proud to declare itself a safe space for people of all walks of life, especially women, and became vocal supporters of survivors of violent crime after the murder of a band member’s sister. That idealism would also become a central tenet to some of Geever’s lyrics. “This is what a feminist looks like!” he sings on 2005’s “Feminism Is for Everybody,” followed immediately by “This is what a feminist sounds like!”
Knowing what the band meant to so many, Kristina Sarhadi was sickened by the burden that she could shatter fans’ entire faith in the group. The New York holistic therapist and health coach had been a die-hard fan until a fall 2010 night with Geever. “It’s been this internal battle for me for over a decade,” Sarhadi tells Rolling Stone. “I truly believed his persona, and what [the band] were always consistently, persistently singing and talking about. I didn’t want to be the one to take that away from anyone else.”
But in mid-July, Sarhadi appeared on a podcast to accuse the 50-year-old of violent sexual assault. Although Sarhadi did not name Geever directly, all details pointed to him. (Sarhadi confirmed to Rolling Stone that Geever was the subject of the allegation.) Hours later, Anti-Flag wiped its social media presence — including band members’ personal pages — and released a short statement. “Announcement,” read the post. “Anti-Flag has disbanded.”
Despite being in the middle of a European tour, the group broke up immediately. Instead of acknowledging the accusation, though, the band offered no denial or further explanation. The assault claim contradicted everything Anti-Flag and Geever claimed to stand for. Now, when faced with their own reckoning, there was only silence.
A week later, Geever categorically denied the allegation. “I have never engaged in a sexual relationship that was not consensual, nor have I ever been approached by a woman after a sexual encounter and been told I had in any way acted without her consent or violated her in any way,” he wrote.
The other members — Patrick Bollinger, a.k.a. Pat Thetic, Chris Head, and Chris Barker, a.k.a. Chris No. 2 — released a statement alongside Geever, saying they were “shaken” and “heartbroken” by the accusation, adding it has always been their “core tenet” to believe survivors. “Therefore, we felt the only immediate option was to disband,” they wrote. “While we believe this is extremely serious, in the last 30 years we have never seen Justin be violent or aggressive toward women.”
Sarhadi’s claim, however, is echoed by an additional 12 women who spoke to Rolling Stone about their alleged encounters with Geever, going back to the 1990s and as recently as 2020. These allegations include predatory behavior, sexual assault, and statutory rape, including sexual relations with a 12-year-old when Geever was a teenager. (Geever did not reply to multiple requests for comment after Rolling Stone sent him a detailed list of allegations for this article.)
“He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Jenn, who met Geever as a 16-year-old in 1997. (Rolling Stone is identifying Jenn by her first name.) “He came across as super supportive. He was like, ‘Yeah, we need more girls in punk rock,’ and ‘Get out there!’ He played the part of lifting women up, but at the same time, he was holding them down, literally.”
Sarhadi couldn’t believe the night she was having. A seemingly fated encounter with Geever had led the then-22-year-old to a glamorous film festival afterparty as Geever’s guest, who was now introducing her to various movie producers and music figures as his girlfriend. Hours later, she would wish she never attended the party.
The two had met a few days earlier when Sarhadi snagged tickets to the band’s show in Brooklyn. Geever locked eyes with her from the stage, she says, and approached her after the show. While chatting, Geever mentioned he’d be near her hometown for the festival, Sarhadi says, and the two exchanged numbers. The pair met up, but instead of the dinner Geever had originally mentioned, she says, he asked her to drive them to the party.
Throughout the night, Sarhadi says, she rebuffed Geever’s advances — including him trying to persuade her to climb into the car’s back seat to have sex. Sarhadi says she was dropping Geever off at his hotel when he asked her to go to his room to hear a new song he recorded. Sarhadi claims Geever wanted to make a pit stop at the hotel bar, which was surprising because both were straight edge. But Geever allegedly told Sarhadi he was drinking that night because he was going through a personal issue with his fiancée.
Sarhadi followed suit, and together they drank beers and took shots before heading upstairs, Sarhadi says, to listen to the song. Once inside the room, Sarhadi says, Geever locked the door and playfully tackled her on the bed. “But as soon as I hit the bed, he put his hand around my throat and basically turned into a monster,” she described on the Enough podcast. “To this day, I still have flashes of his face above me, holding me down.”
Geever proceeded to sexually assault her, Sarhadi claims. “It went on for a very long time,” she added on the podcast. “It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. I can’t stress how violent he was and how much I fully believed I was going to die, that he was going to kill me.” (Rolling Stone spoke with a friend of Sarhadi who said she had told them about the alleged assault earlier this year when discussing their bad experiences with men in the punk scene. Two of Sarhadi’s family members tell Rolling Stone they learned about the alleged assault a few weeks before the podcast aired, as Sarhadi was preparing to come forward.)
As Sarhadi’s story spread following her podcast appearance, numerous women began connecting with one another online about their own alleged encounters with Geever. Like Sarhadi, most women had been ardent fans of Anti-Flag, collecting posters, T-shirts, and CDs, and traveling to multiple shows as often as possible.
“I didn’t say anything for a variety of reasons,” Molly Newborn says of her 1999 run-in with Geever, who allegedly tried to kiss the then-17-year-old when he was 26 and bring her back to his hotel room after she said she was a virgin. “But a big one would probably be: I don’t think people would believe it, that this guy is a creepo, because he sings about feminism,” she says.
“I had no idea it happened to anyone else,” Sarhadi adds. “I felt stupid, embarrassed, and confused, because how could it have happened with this person? He is the anti-rape singer. They are the outspoken feminist band who released an album benefiting women victims of crime. It doesn’t make any sense. [But] even in nature, the worst predators have the best camouflage.”
Anti-Flag’s mission was clear from their 1996 debut album, Die for the Government. “We were angry about Gulf War Syndrome, where chemical weapons were used and the government tried to hide the fact,” Geever said in 2009. “It was a giant ‘Fuck you’ for allowing innocent people to suffer.”
The band began to take off with the release of its second album, A New Kind of Army, in 1999 and joined the Warped Tour — the behemoth summer festival that helped popularize the punk-revival scene — a year later. Throughout the early and mid-2000s, Anti-Flag grew a sizable younger fan base, with many of the people who spoke for this article crediting the band in shaping their own identities and beliefs in a time of post-9/11 political uncertainty. Even after the Warped Tour’s dissolution in 2019, the band continued to tour to sold-out shows in the U.S. and Europe.
“I felt stupid, embarrassed, and confused, because how could it have happened with this person? He is the anti-rape singer.”
Geever readily lived up to the position of Anti-Flag’s frontman. He was engaging and articulate in interviews, bouncing from Donald Trump to the evils of capitalism and his work as a board member of the nonprofit Punk Rock Saves Lives. With fans, he was approachable and generous with his time, taking photos and doling out free merch. It didn’t hurt that Geever’s boyish good looks followed him past his forties.
“[Anti-Flag] felt unique, a ‘fuck the patriarchy and fuck the system, burn it all down’ kind of thing,” early fan Rebecca, who is being identified by her first name, explains. Geever was the “charismatic guy onstage, sharing these thoughts that were so moving,” she says. “He presented as a safe person that had your back [and] was on your side.”
For Suzanne, who discovered Anti-Flag as a teen, and others, the band’s lyrics and politics were a road map in forming her own beliefs. “Their ideas and progressive way of thinking [were] so enlightening to me,” she says. “I really looked to that band and punk rock as who I wanted to be.” (Rolling Stone is identifying Suzanne by her middle name.)
So it seemed like a pinch-me moment straight out of a rom-com, Sarhadi, Suzanne, and many others say, when Geever zeroed in on them from the stage and sought them out after a show to strike up an enthusiastic conversation. “It was like, ‘Holy shit,’ ” says Suzanne, who met Geever at the band’s spring 2002 show in Cleveland. “This is a band I idolize. How is he interested in me? I didn’t really believe it.”
The two began dating shortly after that first meeting, Suzanne says, with Geever allegedly taking several solo trips to her Arizona hometown, professing his love for her and taking the 17-year-old’s virginity outside of a car. (Rolling Stone has reviewed a photo of Suzanne and Geever alongside letters Suzanne says he sent her. Suzanne’s close friend from high school tells Rolling Stone she met Geever several times while he was dating Suzanne.) To her mother, Suzanne says, there were no obvious red flags — Geever claimed that he was 19. He was actually 30.
“It makes me sick,” Suzanne says. “I think that I was groomed. He took advantage of his status and me being young.”
Geever’s alleged predatory behavior was a direct contradiction to what he was proclaiming publicly, even going out of his way to condemn others in the scene. In 2017, he backed a protester who went up against the Dickies frontman Leonard Graves Phillips with a sign that read, “Teen girls deserve respect, not gross jokes from disgusting old men! Punk shouldn’t be predatory.” “I do happen to share their point of view,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “My point of view is that sexualizing women and calling them the c-word is not something that should be tolerated.”
Five months later, Geever was allegedly sending a stream of sexual messages to French college student Mat, who tells Rolling Stone that she had approached him for help on a paper about feminism and the place of women in punk-rock music. (Mat is being identified by a variation of her first name.)
Given how vocal Geever was about championing women, Mat — a fan of the band — hoped to interview him for the project. While Geever said he couldn’t help — citing a busy tour schedule — Mat was pleasantly surprised when he continued to message her about their interests and his family health struggles. The two rapidly developed an intimate friendship.
Within two months, Mat says, Geever began implying they would start a life together in the United States. Thoughtful conversations about their days and interests gave way to Geever repeatedly making sexual requests. “I remember one day I talked to him about some problems in my family that were important to me at that moment,” Mat says. “He just said, ‘Oh, OK, I’m sorry for you. I’m horny, can you call?’ ”
They finally met in person when Geever was touring Europe with Anti-Flag in June 2018. After driving to Luxembourg with her parents, Mat says, Geever took her back to his hotel and later that night initiated sex, which Mat describes as rough. “I was just like a statue,” she says, adding that he choked and spat on her without consent. “I had the feeling that he was having sex alone with me.”
The next morning, Mat says, instead of spending quality time together at breakfast, Geever was more concerned about rushing back to the hotel to have sex again before she had to leave. (That morning, Mat says, Geever admitted he had a girlfriend, but downplayed the seriousness of the relationship.) Afterward, Geever allegedly insisted that she shower, and said the next time she shouldn’t come with her parents. Days later, despite Geever saying he believed there was a future between them, Mat says Geever abruptly cut things off. “I spent months thinking I was stupid, I wasn’t enough, or I was bad in bed,” Mat says. “I felt like an object.”
Mat and Suzanne are two of 13 women Rolling Stone spoke with who claim Geever exploited the power he wielded with younger, enamored girls and women for his own sexual gratification, with several saying they were disturbed to recognize their own experiences mirrored in Sarhadi’s account. Seven of the women were teenagers at the time of their encounters. An eighth was 12 years old.
Susie, who is using a variation of her birth name, claims she was 15 when Geever — then 35 — took her virginity when the band was playing in Germany in August 2008, following the release of their seventh album, The Bright Lights of America. The two had met at another European Anti-Flag gig, and Susie claims Geever recognized and greeted her when she turned up to the German show. He allegedly took her to a shed on the concert grounds, where they had sex. “He told me not to tell anyone afterwards,” Susie claims. (A friend who was at the show confirmed to Rolling Stone that Geever and Susie were alone for some time that day, acknowledging she knew “something” had occurred between the pair.)
Three years later, Susie says, she received an email from Geever, who she sporadically kept in touch with. In the July 2011 email, reviewed by Rolling Stone, Geever mentions he’s playing at the same venue in Germany again, and how he was reminded of Susie and the “little shack where we spent some time together.” “That night was very memorable,” the email reads. “I know that it must have been a lot for you to handle — I hope that looking back it’s a good and not a bad memory for you.”
Another woman, Stefanie, says she felt Geever was attracted to her being an inexperienced 21-year-old when they began a sexual relationship in 2012. (Rolling Stone is identifying Stefanie by her middle name.) He was charming and repeatedly professed his strong feelings for her, Stefanie says, which she now feels was a form of manipulation to get her to comply or be open to more extreme sexual acts. “He said, ‘I’m so dominant in bed, but so sweet otherwise,’ ” Stefanie claims, adding that Geever forced her to call him “master” while she was the “slave.” In one instance, she claims, Geever’s mood shifted and he put his hands around her throat. Stefanie says she became frightened and began to cry, to which Geever stopped and apologized to her. (A friend of Stefanie’s who was aware of their relationship tells Rolling Stone that Stefanie told her about the incident soon after it happened.)
“We never talked about BDSM stuff,” Stefanie says. “We never talked about that kind of dominance. He once texted me something [about domination fantasies], and I told him that I didn’t like it.”
Karina and Rebecca, who both dated Geever when they were teenagers, say they could relate to Sarhadi’s description of Geever’s attentiveness and kindness vanishing when the encounter turned sexual. “I was one among many made to feel special, manipulated, pressured, and then just thrown to the side of the road,” says Karina, who is using a pseudonym and described herself as sexually inexperienced when she began dating Geever at age 16, right as Anti-Flag was taking off. (Geever was 23 at the time.) She developed an eating disorder and blamed herself for not being able to hold Geever’s attention, she says, after he had convinced her it was OK for him to have sex with other women. When they were together, Karina says, her sexual encounters with Geever would “physically escalate” with no discussion or regard for her comfort.
“Later I learned, that’s not the way it should be,” Karina says. “That’s not a way to show love.”
“It makes me sick. It was like, ‘Holy shit.’ This is a band I idolize. How is he interested in me? I didn’t really believe it. I think that I was groomed. He took advantage of his status and me being young.”
Three women say their encounters with Geever escalated from predatory circumstances to violent assault. Ella, who is using a variation of her middle name, claims Geever made sexual advances on her as a teen. The two met when she was 16, on the Warped Tour in Maryland, in the summer of 2009. Mingling among the grounds, Ella says, she ran into Geever — then 36 — who allegedly asked her age before saying he was “thinking of doing something dumb” and asking for her phone number.
Hours later, they met up after Geever messaged her, she says, with Geever allegedly taking her into a wooded area off-site. Ella claims Geever began kissing her and performed a sex act on her. “He definitely wanted to go further,” she says. “But I was like, ‘I have to leave, my mom is coming to pick me up.’ ” Ella claims that upon going their separate ways, Geever told her not to say anything.
The two occasionally kept in contact. Four years later, following a 2013 Anti-Flag show in Baltimore, Ella says, she and Geever had sex. She describes the encounter as consensual, but says Geever repeatedly asked if she was a virgin.
Geever encouraged Ella to follow the band to its next show, in Pittsburgh, she says. (Rolling Stone reviewed a Facebook status Ella posted about driving up to Pittsburgh in the fall of 2013.) “I knew that we were going to have sex,” Ella says. “But I was still very young; I was not very sexually experienced.… He kept asking me if I was a virgin, and then bound my wrists and gagged me.” Ella claims she explicitly told Geever not to perform certain sex acts, but he ignored her.
“I was in pain by the end of it,” she says. “As more time has gone on and I’ve been with other people and had more experiences, you realize, ‘OK, hold on, that was a hard boundary for me that he ignored.’ I refer to all of it as ‘that guy who assaulted me.’ ” (A close friend of Ella’s confirmed that Ella told her about the alleged assault a few weeks after it happened. Rolling Stone also reviewed a tweet Ella posted last August alluding to Geever and the alleged assault.)
Elizabeth met Geever during the Warped Tour in 2007, when she was 18 and the band was coming off its biggest release yet with For Blood and Empire, following its signing with RCA. (Rolling Stone is identifying Elizabeth by her middle name.) At a show two years later, Geever pulled her and another fan from the crowd onstage. The two made plans for Elizabeth, a hairdresser, to attend the next show to cut Geever’s hair. As Elizabeth watched the subsequent gig from backstage, Geever gave her a shout-out. “I’ve been looking up to this band for so long,” Elizabeth says. “When I turned 18, my first tattoo was an Anti-Flag tattoo.… [The shout-out] was a huge deal. It felt honestly indescribable.” (Rolling Stone reviewed photos of Elizabeth with Geever at the shows.)
After spending time on the tour bus with the rest of the band, Elizabeth says, Geever took her on a walk, where he pulled her into a secluded area outside a building, began kissing her, and stuck his hands down her pants. “I was feeling so torn because I was scared [and] I was very young,” she says. But she was also elated. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is unreal. He likes me and he wants to date me.’ ”
For the next few months, Elizabeth remained in frequent contact with Geever as he was on tour in Europe. Sometimes Geever sent her sweet messages, she says. Other times, she claims, he would send unsolicited nude images and call her unprompted while masturbating. “It jumped all around,” she says. “When he would call me, it was never to have a conversation. As soon as I picked up, he was panting and telling me what he was doing to himself.”
“I was getting creeped out,” she adds. “I wouldn’t even say anything on the phone most of the time. I didn’t even know what to say — I had never been in that kind of phone call with anybody ever in my life.”
The two eventually fell out of touch until 2011, when Elizabeth was visiting Pittsburgh and reached out to Geever, who invited her to a recording studio, she says. Elizabeth says Geever almost immediately tried to put his hands down her pants, began forcibly kissing her, and made her perform oral sex on him. “He just seemed like he was mad, and a different person,” she recalls. Afterward, Elizabeth says she quickly left. “I just wanted to get out of there,” she says. “But at the same time, I was like, ‘OK, maybe his desires are a little bit more rough.’ I was unsure if that was him or if it was just his preferences.”
The next day, the two were supposed to go for lunch, but Geever asked Elizabeth to meet him at a hotel, where Elizabeth says he assaulted her. “He first put a spreader bar on me, which I had never seen in my life at that point,” she says. “At another point, he flipped me over with the spreader bar and hogtied me — which again, I had never even been restrained. It was very scary because it wasn’t anything that he asked. None of that mattered.”
In the middle of the alleged assault, Elizabeth says Geever took a personal phone call. “From the sounds of it, it was, like, a dental visit, and he just left me there like that,” she says. “I’m facedown into the pillow sobbing and he left me like that.”
Afterward, Elizabeth says Geever appeared cheery and wanted to get lunch, describing herself as feeling rattled by the emotional whiplash. Moments before, she was restrained and her cries of pain were ignored. Now, she was expected to calmly eat lunch in public across from the person who she says seemed unfazed by her obvious discomfort. “With mascara all over my face, I ran out of there,” she says. (Two friends recall Elizabeth telling them about the encounter soon after they met, when she moved to her current city. One says she was told around 2018 during a conversation about the Warped Tour. The second says Elizabeth told her roughly two to four years ago, when Anti-Flag came up in a conversation about music.)
“It is important for everyone to know … that you are a monster. My father had 15 T-shirts of Anti-Flag. He just put everything in the trash.”
A third woman, Hannah Stark, filed a police report against Geever in August on accusations of sexual assault stemming from an early 2020 encounter in the United Kingdom. Her story, which Rolling Stone has corroborated through reviewing photos of injuries, her messages with Geever, and conversations about the assault with friends, mirrors the violent experience of Sarhadi’s.
Stark claims Geever suddenly handcuffed her, spanked her, and forced her to perform oral sex, as he used degrading language toward her. She says she tried to physically get away from Geever at one point, but could not. “I couldn’t breathe, and then he eventually stopped,” she says. “When I looked up at him, he just had this look of satisfaction on his face. It was horrible.” At no point did Geever check that she was OK or ask for consent to the acts, Stark says, describing herself as “scared.” Stark acknowledges she didn’t explicitly say no to Geever, because she feared it “would make things worse.” “To be honest, I thought he would like that,” she says.
Police in the U.K. confirmed to Rolling Stone they received a “report of a serious sexual assault” related to Stark’s allegation. Although Stark says she provided police with a witness list and offered 300-plus items of documentation, she says the police recently informed her that they were declining to move forward because she never told Geever “no.”
In the two years since the alleged assault, Stark says she scoured the internet with a sinking feeling. “Something in me was like, ‘There’s no way that I’m the only person he has done this to,’ ” she says. Finding nothing, Stark decided to anonymously post on the Tumblr page “The Industry Ain’t Safe” one night in March 2022. “Justin Sane from Anti-Flag,” she wrote. “Am I really the only person this has happened to?”
The Tumblr post became a beacon for other women, who had searched online for years for other allegations to no avail. “I kept my eyes open,” Suzanne says, recalling how she stumbled upon the post last year. “My stomach dropped. I should have responded then and not have left her feeling like the only one.… [Not responding] would eat me alive.”
It ended up also being the catalyst for Sarhadi to come forward. Seeing no responses, Sarhadi replied that something had happened with her too. “Once I saw [the post], it was just no question,” Sarhadi explains. “If I hadn’t seen that, I don’t know. I could have gone back and forth on this for another 10 years.”
Soon after the podcast aired, 44-year-old Pittsburgh native Tali Weller says she received an unexpected message about the episode from a childhood friend, who wanted to check that she was doing OK.
It had been more than three decades since a 12-year-old Weller had met a 17-year-old Geever through their local church youth group in 1990. “I have this memory in his car of my first kiss with him,” Weller says. “I was so blinded by trust for him and infatuation, he had me sold to follow his lead.”
Their encounters, which Weller says Geever had instructed her to keep a secret, were split between friendly, chaste exchanges in public and sexual activity in closets, the lofted rehearsal space at his family home, and sleeping bags on overnight church trips. “I remember that I didn’t feel comfortable having sex,” she says. “His answer was anal sex.”
Weller says their sexual encounters lasted for a year and a half, until she was 13. (Rolling Stone has spoken to two family members who confirm Weller told them about the nature of her relationship with Geever within the past 10 years. Rolling Stone also reviewed the message Weller’s friend sent, alerting her to the podcast.)
“I’m still unpacking my sexuality and what was affected by him by this relationship,” Weller explains. “I remember that he instructed me to moan to show him ‘that I was enjoying it.’ It’s so uncomfortable even to talk about now [and how that has shaped] my sexual life still.”
Speaking to the women who claim to have been abused by Geever, many describe feeling isolated in their experiences and trying to reconcile his public persona with his private actions. Each felt they could be the only one. “He comes off as such a kind, loving, supportive, good person,” Elizabeth says. “It’s like Jekyll and Hyde.”
Many of the women who spoke for this article expressed disappointment — if not outright fury — at Geever’s statement. “He made me really angry when I read it,” Stefanie says. “Especially for someone who preaches [what he does]. He’s wearing his feminism shirts and then putting out a statement like that. It’s just kind of insulting to everyone.”
“There’s something in all this that’s so liberating to know I’m not alone.”
Geever’s claim that no one had ever informed him his behavior was violating is a flat-out lie, Mat and Karina allege. Karina claims she confronted Geever in 1999, alleging that he took advantage of her inexperience through manipulation and pressure, and the lasting damage it caused. Geever allegedly “demonstrated sympathy,” she says, and made it “seem like he wanted to do better.” Mat says that after listening to Sarhadi on the podcast, she sent Geever a long message, which Rolling Stone reviewed, detailing how using her for sex and easily discarding her had left her questioning her self-worth. He never responded. Two days later, he posted his statement.
The women, alongside some of the band’s fans, also chastised the other band members for failing to take an immediate hard stance against Geever publicly or even acknowledge the blind eye they may have turned, as three women claim some of the members were present when Geever brought them on tour, backstage, or on the tour bus as teenagers and young women. “They knew how young everybody was,” Rebecca, who dated a then-25-year-old Geever as a 17-year-old in the late 1990s, claims. “There was a clear boundary that he kept crossing over and over that should have raised flags for everybody.”
In a joint statement to Rolling Stone, the other Anti-Flag members say their trust has “wholly been broken” and are “disturbed by the efforts taken to conceal information from us.” “We trusted everyone associated with the band to maintain a safe and respectful environment,” they add. “The understanding that abusers can be anywhere further reinforces the importance of survivors speaking out and sharing their stories.… Further, we feel strongly that all predators must atone for their inappropriate actions and be held accountable.”
The accusations and blatant contradiction of Anti-Flag’s core tenets — proceeds from the compilation album featuring “Feminism Is for Everybody” went to Protect, a nonprofit aimed at combating child abuse and exploitation — have already caused several bands to walk away from Anti-Flag’s label, A-F Records. Artist Sammy Kay, who signed to the label earlier this year, felt the allegation and the band’s lack of transparency left him no choice but to leave. How could he stay “if what they’re preaching onstage and spreading to the world does not align with what [their] day to day is,” Kay says. (The band confirmed to Rolling Stone that they are “in the process of unwinding the label, including returning master rights and physical records/merchandise to the bands, which will take some time to complete properly.”)
Multiple accusers tell Rolling Stone that there’s no single path forward for accountability and rectifying the damage they say Geever has caused over the years. Disbanding isn’t enough, Mat says. Neither is Geever and the band’s statement. “It is important that everyone knows the truth,” she says. “For everyone to know that you are a monster. My father had 15 T-shirts of Anti-Flag. When we talked, I told him, ‘I don’t want to see you wear something by them.’ He just put everything in the trash. I want everyone to act that way.”
Some believe Geever should face the criminal-justice system. Stark says despite police not moving forward with her case, she is still glad she filed the report. “It wasn’t for nothing,” Stark says. “My statement stays in the [police] system forever because of the nature of the accusation. So if another person from the U.K. did ever come forward, my statement is there for corroboration.”
Others are focused on healing and bringing more awareness to the wider punk community about power imbalances and how alleged abusers can thrive in plain sight. “Nobody wants this situation where people are getting out the pitchforks,” Karina says. “What they want is healing and to feel like somebody is being accountable, and someone can hold our pain.”
Many urge Geever to seek help. “The compassionate part of me recognizes that there is some sickness or some trauma,” Weller says. “I like to think that we’re looking forward to a time when Justin at least is not going to hurt other people in the same ways and at best is going to get the help he needs to ultimately come to peace with himself.”
The one glimmer of hope throughout has been the outpouring of support the women have described receiving from the punk-rock scene. It’s been reaffirming that the family and community they craved and sought out were still there for them, despite the alleged actions of a musician whose band they formed around.
Weller says that after hearing Sarhadi’s podcast, she processed her shock with a counselor. “When I was done spitting out words, my counselor had this really great smile and was like, ‘Your life just started,’ in such a knowing way,” Weller says. “I feel like that’s true. There’s something in all this that’s so liberating to know I’m not alone.”
Speaking with others has been therapeutic for the women, including Sarhadi, who has launched ThePunkRockTherapist.org, a place where Geever’s accusers and other survivors within the music industry can connect and receive free therapy sessions.
In April, Geever himself encouraged people to open up about connecting with others going through a traumatic event. “When you put out to people that you’ve gone through something horrible, what you find is [that] you aren’t alone,” he said. “There’s so many other people who’ve gone through something similar. When you start to connect with them and talk with them, that’s when the healing can actually begin.”
The irony is not lost on Sarhadi. “[It’s] another perfect example of him saying the right thing and it being a total scam,” she says. “Maybe we were inspired originally by someone with a microphone. But we’re the ones doing the work every day. We know we have each other’s back.”