langston francis

Toronto musician Langston Francis dropped by label over sexual assault allegations

If you hadn't heard of up-and-coming Toronto musician Langston Francis before this week, you may know of him now — though not for his croony, poppy raps, but for the slew of sexual assault allegations recently made against him.

As more stories emerge, members of the public have been demanding that Sony Music Canada, Francis's label, drop the 19-year-old Kensington Market man.

A petition for the cause launched on Sunday has reached nearly 9,000 signatures at the time of publication — close to the number of Instagram followers on the artist's Instagram, where he yesterday shared a public apology for his actions and announced that he's taking a break from music.

Francis's decision was well-timed given that Sony has since indeed decided to part ways with him over the ordeal.

The petition that spurred Sony to take action calls Francis a "notorious sexual abuser who "has been accused of numerous cases of sexual assault and coercion" over the past few years.

"In the last 24 hours, many women have come forward, including minors, publicly and anonymously detailing the horrifying abuse they have encountered at the hands of Langston Francis," it reads.

"This is not someone who should be given a platform, especially one with a fan base of young girls. We urge Sony to conduct a proper investigation, take the appropriate actions necessary and break all ties with him."

Accusations from a number of users across social media include a widely-viewed 45-minute video during which a woman details her assault at the hands of another Toronto musician and producer, Matthew Anningston — who went to Rosedale Heights School of the Arts with Francis — as well as the flood of messages she has received from fellow survivors about their experiences with the two men.

"As of right now, I only have proof on Matthew Anningston and Langston Francis. Those are the only two people I'm going to try [to take legal action against]," she says in the video from Monday. "Matthew the most because it's what happened to me... I just have allegations and screenshots against Langston."

She goes on to encourage anyone who may have experienced a similar incident with Anningston, Francis or their affiliates to come forward as she builds a case using her story and those of others, which have been shared through posts, stories and messages on various social media platforms.

Francis's own post acknowledging the accusations notably does not deny them, and deems his "conduct with women" a result of "personal issues."

"Over the last three days some people I know, and some that I don't know, have made a number of accusations on social media about my past conduct with women, some going back to when I was in grade nine and grade ten," he wrote in the post on Tuesday.

"To anyone who I may have hurt with my behaviour, I'm sorry. I'm pressing pause on my music career and taking an indefinite break from social media in order to reflect and consider what further actions I need to take to work on these personal issues."

Instagram has come out as a unique platform for victims of sexual assault in Canada and abroad to share their stories with the hopes of preventing others from being harmed by the same perpetrators, and hopefully to bring some justice to these types of situations.

Francis has not yet been charged with any crime.

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