David Ellefson has parted ways with Megadeth following grooming allegations made against him.
The 56-year-old musician has profusely denied claims he allegedly groomed a girl online after explicit screenshots and video footage surfaced online earlier this month.
Dave Mustaine and co have since issued a statement confirming his exit from the thrash metal group, in which they also revealed the band already had a “strained relationship with” Ellefson.
The ‘Sweating Bullets’ rockers reassured fans that their new album has not been affected.
Mustaine said in a statement issued on the band’s social media pages: “We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him. We do not take this decision lightly.
“While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward.
“We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete.”
Megadeth – also comprising Kiko Loureiro and Dirk Verbeuren – previously told fans they were aware of the allegations made against Ellefson.
They said: “As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another.
“However, there are clearly aspects of David’s private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light.”
Ellefson had addressed the claims made against him in his own statement and vehemently denied that he allegedly groomed an underage girl and thanked the unnamed female for coming forward to state that their interactions were “consensual” and she was not underage at the time.
He said: “As much as it’s not something I’m proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family.
“The other party involved has made a statement which you can see below. I thank her for doing so and hope that this clarifies that the situation was not at all as presented.”
She wrote: “Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate them and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that. It was all consensual, I’m not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it.
“In the end, it was all consensual and all online. I don’t know how it got to this point, but a lot of information is being left out by the people purposely trying to harm him. I would ask that anyone sharing these personal private videos or any misinformation about them to please stop.”
Ellefson formed Megadeth with Mustaine in 1983, they went on hiatus between 2002 and 2004, but the bassist didn’t re-join again until 2010, five years after his lawsuit against the rest of the band over a royalties dispute was dismissed.