playing god

Hayley Williams Makes Paramore’s Allyship Loud and Clear Following Josh Farro’s Anti-Gay Comments

We don’t know anyone better. Photo: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Hayley Williams is addressing anti-gay comments made by her former Paramore bandmate and longtime headache, Josh Farro, after they started circulating on Twitter on October 28. “There’s a reason there are only 3 people left in @paramore. surprise, haters, it ain’t cause of me,” Williams tweeted that night. “Paramore do not condone religiously/politically dogmatic beliefs which leave our LGBTQ+ friends, fans, & family feeling abandoned and hopeless.” In a second tweet, Williams added, “And ya know, if that doesn’t jive with you, well, feel free to go to where all past members of paramore have gone which is literally anywhere else but paramore.”

Williams was responding to a Facebook comment by the former Paramore guitarist, dug up by a fan, in which Farro called being gay “a perversion” and equated it to pedophilia. She did not name Farro in her tweets, but he did leave Paramore, along with his brother Zac, in 2010. In a blog post at the time explaining his departure, Josh Farro wrote that Williams’s “views started changing from what we all once believed in” as the band toured on its 2007 album Riot. (He said the same for former Paramore bassist Jeremy Davis, who left the band in 2015 and later settled a lawsuit against the band over pay in 2017.) He also criticized what he perceived as Williams’s outsize power in Paramore. Zac, who plays drums in the band, returned for 2017’s After Laughter.

Williams released her first solo record, Petals for Armor, in May of this year. In an interview with Vulture at the time, she said of Farro’s departure, “For a long time I was mad. Now I look back and I think we needed that to happen. There needed to be infections cut out. We needed to shed blood.” Going on, she added, “We weren’t really friends at that point. Now, when I run into Josh, I barely feel anything. No part of me is triggered.” She went on to describe an interaction with Farro at the band’s 2009 Wembley Arena show, when he “asked me what monetarily I thought he was worth.” Williams remembered:

I looked at him and said, “I’m not good with numbers. Are you kidding me? Don’t ask me that.” He [Josh] knew they [Josh and his brother Zac] were gonna leave, that this was some of their last shows. He was trying to figure out if he was going to take legal action against us to own the name or … I don’t remember everything he was going to fight for, but he ended up not. It’s not easy to fight your friend. What I like to believe is there was a moment when he realized it wasn’t worth it. It all got dropped. It sucked. You didn’t think you would come out of it. And [Paramore has] made two albums since then that are the best we’ve ever made.

The day before Williams’s tweets, she announced the Petals for Armor: Self-Serenades EP, out December 18. It will feature acoustic versions of “Simmer” and “Why We Ever,” along with a new song, “Find Me Here.”

Hayley Williams Calls Out Paramore Bandmate’s Anti-Gay Views